Tuesday, May 3, 2011

One Year Later

From the desk of Kim Gough, Program Developer at the Royal BC Museum

As I was sitting down to write my blog for this month I realized that I have now been blogging for one year! So I treated myself to some cake and gifts and then, drunk on sugar, I decided to revisit my first post on "Backstage Pass Tours" and give an update.

Here is a quick summary of a typcial Backstage Pass tour. Visitors purchase their museum admission ticket or show their current membership card and then sign up for the tour at the Information Desk. There they receive a backstage pass ticket. They then gather in the lobby and are greeted by their tour leader and assistant. After a brief introduction to the museum they head to the freight elevator and take a trip down to the basement.

Frieght elevator

They learn about the field work of the entomology (insect) department and then stop for a look in the Exhibit Art workshop where they see how things are made.

After that they trek through the tunnel and head up the staff elevator to the sixth floor of the collections tower. They go through the entomology library, past the curator's office and into the laboratory where they see stacks of collection drawers, pinned specimens and maybe even some research associates at work. A quick look out the windows at the amazing view of Victoria's inner harbour and then back downstairs.

A glimpse behind the scenes of Entomology

Our docent tour guides do an amazing job. After training sessions and tours with curators and many practice runs they expertly guide our visitors through the many hallways and collections. On weekdays, visitors are often treated to impromptu visits with curators, research associates, conservators and other staff. Some visitors are downright "star struck" and these interactions are definitely a highlight.

A tour visiting the Exhibit Arts workshop and chatting with staff

We have been running the tours for seven months and took a two month break so the departments could have their spaces back for a little while. We also took advantage of this time to evaluate the program and make some changes - including a new tour of the Exhibit Art workshop and of paleontology.

Backstage Pass Tours will continue to be offered with regular admission twice a week until the end of September as part of our Behind the Scenes exhibition - and hopefully beyond. Find out when they happen by visiting our "What's On" page.

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