This is the time of year for thoughts of gratitude and the spirit of giving.
First, I do want to acknowledge the great work of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum team who, like our supporters and visitors, have had to adjust their lives and—more often than they would have liked—their workplaces and even their duties. They have performed wonderfully under trying circumstances unprecedented in our lifetimes.
The people of Saskatchewan should be proud of the work they deliver on their behalf to tell the natural history and Indigenous stories of this amazing province. I have never worked with people of such fine character, intellect, and determination.
Mostly though, during the holiday season and new year, we at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum would like to let our visitors—those in Regina and the record 12,250 who came to the T.rex Discovery Centre in Eastend this year—know how grateful we are for their support and what they give back to us.
School tours have recently returned to the museum. It was so wonderful to look down on the CN T.rex Gallery as close to 50 Grade 4 students and their supervisors sat cross-legged on the floor and listened intently as one of our interpreters made her presentation. There were smiles all around and I remembered how much the sound of children, their laughter and their eager and uninhibited questions really means to our museum staff.
To me, it was an indication that we are close to completing what 2021 has been all about for the RSM—recovery.
And it’s that recovery that sets the theme for 2022, which will be about the renaissance, or rebirth of the RSM.
In the spring, we will open another magnificent new series of exhibits called Home: Life in the Anthropocene. This new exhibit will tell the story of the richness and beauty of our planet, the fragility and resilience of its environment, the tenuous existence of failed and triumphant species and more. It will bring with it the same “Oh, Wow” response that I still see in the eyes and on the lips of visitors when they enter the CN T.rex Gallery.
The Home exhibit will be another shiny gem in the increasingly bejeweled crown of the RSM. It will cement us for many years to come as not only a leader in scientific research (as emphasized by our 2021 “T.rex of the Sea” find of year, but also as a premier provincial attraction.
That’s the only cat I’m letting out of the bag for now, but that brings me to the real point of this message.
The reason we will be able to launch this renaissance is you—our visitors. In 2019/20, more than 175,000 of you visited the RSM before COVID-19 shut us down. At the same time, we created a more visible “admission by donation” request for your support. The ask was and remains modest—five dollars, which is not a lot more than bus fare.
It also ensured that those less fortunate could still visit as much as they pleased without facing barriers.
For those of you who could donate, it allowed us, in partnership with the Friends of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, to find enough money to make Home: Life in the Anthropocene possible. It simply would not have happened without you. Similarly, sponsors have stepped up to support projects such as the SaskTel Be Kind Online Learning Lab, which opened October 15 and the SGI Solstice Speaker Series which premiered on September 29.
So, here’s a seasonal toast to you, our visitors. Without you there would be no sponsors. Without you and your donations there would not be a new Home exhibit. Without you, there would be no RSM renaissance in 2022 and beyond.
You are our most valuable partners.
It is you—together with our RSM staff, that have made our future—one which I expect will continue to produce dynamic new exhibits and world-leading research and scientific breakthroughs for many years to come—possible.
We are grateful for your gifts and, more so, the gift of you.
--Peter Menzies, Executive Director