Royal BC Museum First Nations language exhibit wins international award

Our Living Languages: First Peoples' Voices in British Columbia is one of four exhibits to win the Excellence in Exhibition Competition.

An exhibit about the resilience and diversity of First Nations language on display at the Royal BC Museum has won an internationally-recognized award from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in British Columbia was selected as one of the winners of the annual Excellence in Exhibition Competition. The exhibit highlights First Nations communities through the province that are working to help languages survive and flourish in the face of change.

It was created in partnership with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, who also supplied all the exhibition content.

It is an interactive exhibit and includes distinct areas where visitors can sit and rest while immersed in audio.

“It was very important for us to tell the story of B.C.’s 34 First Nations languages from the perspective of First Nations people,” said Tracey Herbert, executive director of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council.

“By consulting with First Nations community experts to develop design, story layout and content for the exhibition, we were able to capture the beauty of our languages and draw attention to many amazing community-based language revitalization efforts.”

It was one of only four entries to win the award this year after 37 were submitted from around the world.

“This award celebrates the spirit of collaboration and mutual respect that drove this exhibition’s planning, development and ongoing programming,” said Jack Lohman, Royal BC Museum CEO.

“It has set the bar high for our future feature exhibitions, which must also connect with visitors emotionally and intellectually through rich context, innovative technology and creative talent.”

The exhibit opened on National Aboriginal Day last year and will be on display until June 2017 on the third floor of the museum.

Past award winners include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and the Chicago History Museum.