Wednesday, September 1, 2010


From the desk of Sean Rodman, Strategic Partnerships Manager at the Royal BC Museum

Have you heard of Artifact or Artifiction, the annual museum gala fundraising event? It’s a game where the guests are the players. Twenty curators with artifacts or specimens are stationed throughout our galleries. Guests have to guess: is a curator telling the truth about an artifact, or making up an explanation?

While the event is a lot of fun for both guests and curators, it is also an important way of supporting the work of the Royal BC Museum. This year, all the funds raised are going towards our educational outreach program, including sending the “Aliens Among Us” exhibit on the road.

It’s a huge event, and we work with many partners in the community to pull it off. One of our partners, CHEK News, is helping us to spread the word: they offered to create a 30 second promotional video for us that will be aired over the next few weeks.

This was my first time seeing a TV crew at work, and it was fascinating. Early one morning, while the galleries were still closed, we snuck in with a small team from CHEK. Along with us were Tony Parsons, news anchor and MC for Artifact or Artifiction, and Gavin Hanke, our Curator of Vertebrate Zoology.

The first thing that impressed me was how quickly the CHEK crew turned the centre of our Behind the Scenes gallery into an impromptu TV studio. Lights, reflectors, a big camera on a tripod, display monitors – all of it popped out of a series of carrying cases. Soon the gallery was ready to go, with our mammal display serving as backdrop to the shoot.

Tony delivered his lines professionally and, although he didn’t have a speaking part, Gavin held his own on stage. By the time the gate to the gallery was rolling upwards and a crowd of visitors was streaming in, the crew had wrapped up and was heading down the freight elevator to capture their next story.

A few days later, we received the finished product. It will air over the next few weeks, and is already available online. What happens next? Well, hopefully the promo spot on CHEK will help us to sell out of tickets soon – we’re over half-way already!

The only downside? I suspect that Gavin, our curator in the spotlight, now dreams of a career on the tube. I think his agent is already pestering the Knowledge Network for his own series….

ps. Want to watch the final product?

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The Royal BC Museum is located in Victoria, British Columbia on Canada's west coast. We preserve BC's human and natural history and share it with the world. How do we do that? That's what this blog is about.

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