Imagine all of the amazing things behind the doors of a museum. Did you ever imagine that the Royal BC Museum would have John Lennon’s 1965 “Yellow Submarine” Rolls-Royce?
In 1966 the rear seat was modified to convert to a double bed. Telephone, portable refrigerator, Sony television and custom interior-exterior sound system were installed, with loud hailer in nearside front wing.
How did we get such an item you must be asking? In 1986, Jim Pattison was the chairman for Expo ’86 and arranged for the Rolls-Royce to be loaned for the exhibition from Ripley’s Believe it or Not where it was on display as “the most expensive car in the world”. Later that year, the title for the car was transferred to Jim Pattison Industries and he donated the car to the Royal BC Museum.
The car was designed and painted by Steve Weaver of Chertsey, England in 1967.
Rarely used by the Lennons in the USA, the car was loaned to several other rock groups for special occasions.
For many years the car was exhibited in the British Columbia Transportation Museum at Cloverdale, near Vancouver. When they closed in 1993 the “Yellow Submarine” then came to Victoria. Since that time, the car has been displayed on occasion in our lobby, but it can’t stay there permanently and is currently safe in storage.
The majority of our collections are in storage both onsite and at facilities around the city. The Royal British Columbia Museum collection includes over 10 million objects and specimens and millions of significant government documents and records and archival material. Our exhibitions and galleries are only able to show a small fraction of the collection and the research that goes on here.
It was for that reason that we opened our current feature exhibition, Behind the Scenes: Part 1 Natural History. We wanted an opportunity to show you some of the things that aren’t normally displayed. It’s also why we have been doing our Backstage Pass Tours that take visitors behind the scenes and into our Natural History collection areas. You won’t see the Rolls-Royce but you might just see something else as wild and wonderful! Imagine what you might discover.