Accessibility was paramount to the design and construction of the new facility in downtown Edmonton. Government worked with accessibility organizations to ensure all visitors have an opportunity to enjoy the new museum.
“Removing barriers and creating an accessible and inclusive space in the new museum is extremely important to us. This is a museum for all Albertans. When the doors open, all visitors, regardless of ability, will be able to experience Alberta’s rich natural and cultural history.”
The museum was also awarded the 2018 Percy Wickman Accessibility Award from Spinal Cord Injury Alberta. The provincewide award is given out annually to new or newly renovated buildings in Alberta that have exceeded building codes in terms of wheelchair accessibility features.
“From Day 1 of this project, accessibility was fundamental to the museum design. A number of design choices were put in place, such as barrier-free access to the street and lobby, captioned media presentations for many exhibits, and accessible parking stalls, to ensure visitors with special mobility requirements are able to enjoy all the new museum has to offer.”
The museum has a number of accessible parking spaces, as well as drop-off zones near museum entrances. The museum is also accessible through Edmonton’s pedway system, allowing people to park in nearby parkades. Visitors can plan their trips using takeETS.ca or by phoning 311.
The museum, which opens Oct. 3, was designed using Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design.
Museum accessibility features include
- Barrier-free access from street to door to lobby.
- Automatic doors at the entrances.
- Elevators to second floor galleries.
- Barrier-free theatre with available hearing assist and dedicated areas for strollers and wheelchairs.
- High-contrast and large type on museum wayfinding signs.
- Spoken and captioned media in galleries for many exhibits.
- Braille identifying public bathrooms.
- Barrier-free access to bathrooms.
- Dedicated wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
- Elevator from LRT.
Background: New Royal Alberta Museum
On Oct. 3, the museum will take its place as the largest museum in Western Canada, spanning almost 40,000 square metres (419,000 square feet). This includes more than 7,600 square metres (82,000 square feet) of exhibition space – twice as much as the former Glenora location. The new space allows RAM to provide visitors with new objects and stories to explore, in addition to old favourites that everyone knows and loves.
More than 5,300 objects will be on display in the museum that features:
- Expansive Human History and Natural History Halls chronicling the history of Alberta’s peoples, animals and landscapes.
- An interactive Children’s Gallery designed for hands-on learning through play.
- An expansive Bug Gallery with a visible hatchery.
- A free admission space dedicated to Manitou Asinîy.
A total of $375.5 million is invested in the new museum: $253 million from the Alberta government and $122.5 million from the federal government’s Building Canada Fund.