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Nearly 36,000 bid farewell to Royal Alberta Museum

After 48 years in its current home, the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) has officially closed in preparation for its mammoth-sized move to downtown Edmonton. 

Carrie Day Performance

Carrie Day serenaded the crowd on Saturday of the RAM closing weekend celebration.

The Royal Alberta Museum was buzzing this past weekend as 35,885 people visited to take in the Glenora galleries one last time. The 48-hour-long weekend celebration invited all Albertans to say goodbye and share their museum memories in order to send off the building that has encapsulated Alberta’s history for nearly five decades.

On Saturday, December 5, 16,290 people visited the museum, breaking museum records for single day attendance previously set in July 1974 when 13,212 people came through the doors in a single day for the US Space Spectacular exhibit.

David Eggen, Minister of Culture and Tourism, and Francis Alexis, Historian with the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, joined RAM staff to kick-off celebrations, which included free admission for the entire weekend, family activities and an exhibit showcasing the museum’s history and future. Visitors also took the time to share their favourite RAM memories that covered entire walls of the feature exhibit.

“This past weekend is a true testament to the importance of this museum in our community and the hard work of RAM staff. It’s evident by looking at the wall of memories that the museum has connected with people of all ages. And now, RAM embarks on the exciting journey to downtown Edmonton, where it will open as the largest museum in western Canada. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this historic weekend. We look forward to you joining our journey to the museum’s new home.”

David Eggen, Minister of Culture and Tourism

Nearly 14 million people have visited RAM since it opened its doors on December 6, 1967. The museum has grown significantly to house millions of objects and educate more than 40,000 school children annually. 

“We are witnessing a huge transition in the life of the museum. For our Friends of Royal Alberta Museum Society members who have steadfastly supported the museum over the years, we thank you. We can already see the possibilities and the dreams to be realized in our new home. We at FRAMS invite all Albertans to join with us on this exciting journey.”

Peggi Ferguson-Pell, President, Friends of Royal Alberta Museum Society

While the galleries are now closed, the theatre remains available for special event facility rentals. Bookings can be made by calling 780-453-9100.

Stay in touch

RAM will continue to share stories and engage with Albertans online during its transition to the new building. The public is invited to join the museum’s journey to its new home by following the hashtag #MuseumOnTheMove on social media, visiting the website and signing up for e-newsletter updates.

Construction of the new building is underway and expected to be complete in 2016, with an anticipated opening in late 2017. Following construction, the task of moving and installing thousands of objects, outfitting a café, gift shop, theatre and offices will get underway. When completed, the new RAM will be the largest museum in western Canada.

A total of $375.5 million will be invested in development of the new museum, including $253 million from the Alberta government and $122.5 million from the federal government’s Building Canada Fund.

Memories shared at the closing event

“Beautiful sendoff to an amazing facility that defined a childhood. 15+ years later, I’ll never forget the friendships.” - Jayna

“I was in Grade 3 when I first arrived at the Royal Alberta Museum and I have loved it ever since. I brought my now wife here on our first date.” - T.

“I was here for the grand opening in 1967. My mom was one of the first tour guides.” - Ihur

“Two small children + hours of fun at the museum = one mother’s sanity. Thank you SO much!” - M.

“No childhood in the Edmonton area was complete without a trip to the museum. Thank you for the wonderful memories.” - Karen

“As a young child, I remember sticking my fingers in the rock with the holes and being in awe of the animal dioramas. I visited frequently with my parents and on many school trips. So many happy memories in these walls. Thank you and all the best with the new phase. See you there.” - Jenifer

“Thank you for the best childhood a kid could ask for.” - SB.

“Thank you for telling our story.” - Mallory, Cree, Treaty 6

“I suffered a brain bleed and lost a lot of my old memories. Visiting today was all new to me. Thank you for the new memory.” - Anonymous

“Old things have to be replaced. Change is good.” - Francis Alexis, Iska, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation

“Root beer candy sticks in the store!” - David Eggen

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