Dive into the Orca’s World in Upcoming Royal BC Museum Exhibit

Orca “Rhapsody” Skeleton – Unpacking and assembly. Image from the Royal BC Museum.

Take a plunge into the world of the orca, the magnificent apex predator.

The Royal BC Museum’s upcoming feature exhibition, Orcas: Our Shared Future, makes its global debut on April 16th, 2021 after a year-long postponement due to COVID-19.

The exhibition offers a deep plunge into the stories and science that encompass the majestic orca—the spirit of British Columbia’s wild coast.

The exhibit will explore how orcas and humans are intricately connected through striking displays—including three life-size orca replicas and the skeletons of Rhapsody (J32) and her unborn calf—and tides of ecological activism, Indigenous beliefs, and popular culture.

“This is a timely and challenging story—and one that we are uniquely qualified to tell,” says Royal BC Museum Board Chair and acting CEO Dr. Daniel Muzyka. “Our unique collections, curatorial expertise, and physical and emotional proximity to orcas and oceans combine in an edifying and ultimately hopeful experience that affirms we are all part of nature—not apart from nature.”

Amidst the 100+ artifacts on display are rare cultural objects by Indigenous artists, including an Articulated Dance Mask by Richard Hunt (Kwaguilth); an intricately carved Gold Killer Whale Box by Bill Reid (Haida); and a specially commissioned painting by Haida manga artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas.

The exhibition is accompanied by a beautifully illustrated companion publication that brings together the work of marine biologists, Indigenous knowledge keepers, poets, artists and storytellers. The best-selling Spirits of the Coast: Orcas in Science, Art and History ($29.95; edited by Dr. Martha Black, Dr. Lorne Hammond, and Dr. Gavin Hanke with Nikki Sanchez), is currently available through local bookshops, the Royal Museum Shop and online at rbcm.ca/books.

The exhibition has been specifically designed to travel to other museums during the UNESCO Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021—2030), when possible.

To purchase timed tickets, visit: rbcm.ca/orcas.