Victoria’s Royal B.C. Museum takes an intimate look at the royal family in new exhibit
With festivities to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in full swing in Britain this weekend, it’s only fitting that Victoria, B.C., gets in on the fun. As the Queen celebrates the 60th anniversary of her reign, Victoria’s Royal B.C. Museum opens a new photographic exhibit on her life Friday (June 1).
“In Victoria, there’s a particular connection over time to the monarchy and to Britain,” points out Tim Willis, the museum’s director of exhibition and visitor experience. On the line with the Straight, he explains that Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration features 60 original images taken by the royal photographer, on loan from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
“The images have an interesting story about Cecil Beaton and his relationship with the Royal Family,” Willis said. Beaton first photographed the Queen when she was a teenager in 1942 and chronicled her life as princess, monarch, and mother through both her “off duty” moments and official occasions. The exhibit includes archival footage such as a film clip of the coronation on June 2, 1953. “It’s a very sombre affair,” Willis said. “We’re used to seeing royal weddings, so it’s really interesting to see a coronation.…with the Queen as a very young woman, very small under the weight of the crown.”
The exhibit, on until September 3, runs concurrently with Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries, which opened May 17 and runs until September 16. “To any child, a dinosaur exhibit is an event,” said Willis of the museum’s second attraction, noting that adults also find dinosaurs fascinating. Organized by New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the exhibit features life-sized cast skeletons of T. rex, interactive computer simulations of dinosaur-extinction scenarios, and a diorama of a 130-million-year-old forest in China’s Liaoning province. The latter shows feathered dinosaurs, highlighting recent research positing that birds descended from these beasts. For info on both exhibits, see royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/.
Also in Victoria, August 2 marks 150 years since the town site of Fort Victoria was incorporated as a city. While there will be a community party at Centennial Square that day, the milestone will be recognized with a variety of arts and cultural projects through November, such as Cycling Through Time Victoria, which traces the history of bike riding in the city. For info on this and other happenings, see victoria.ca/. Look for 150th-anniversary hotel specials as well, such as the Victoria 150 offer at the Fairmont Empress, with rates starting at $150 per night.