Royal Saskatchewan Museum
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|Location||Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada|
|Website||Royal Saskatchewan Museum|
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum was established in Regina as the Provincial Museum in 1906 to "secure and preserve natural history specimens and objects of historical and ethnological interest." It was the first museum in Saskatchewan, Canada, and the first provincial museum in the three Prairie Provinces.
Between 1906 and 1945 the Museum occupied several premises including the Regina Trading Company Building, the Provincial Legislative Building, and the Normal School (the eastern-most historic building on the "College Avenue" campus of the University of Regina). During the Second World War the Museum's collections were taken out of public display and stored initially in the General Motors Building (east on Dewdney Avenue) to permit the Normal School to be used for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, and then, when the GM building was also requisitioned, in Pilkington’s Glass Company Building. The collections returned to the Normal School in 1944 and opened to the public again in 1946.
Finally the provincial government built the current premises on the corner of Albert Street and College Avenue, the site of the abandoned Chateau Qu'Appelle Hotel, as a Saskatchewan Golden Jubilee project. Partly for aesthetic reasons and partly to avoid the expansive task of uprooting the pilings, the museum was built on an angle with a large front lawn. The new premises were opened by Governor General Vincent Massey on May 16, 1955. To reflect the areas of devotion, the museum adopted a new title "Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History". This title stuck until 1993 when they received royal designation from Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada and became the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
The Museum collection, then housed in the provincial legislative building, had been decimated by the 1912 "Regina Cyclone." The collection was severely damaged again in 1990 when fire broke out in the First Nations Gallery, which was then under construction. Smoke damage required the museum to close for four months; and many areas remained closed for years. Since the fire, the First Nations Gallery and the Life Sciences have been substantially improved.