Mammoth month: Ice Age exhibit has traffic way up at Royal BC Museum
Published Thursday, July 7, 2016 5:13PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 7, 2016 6:32PM PDT
The Ice Age is so hot right now.
Staff at the Royal BC Museum say record-breaking crowds are flocking to the museum’s new Giants of the Ice Age exhibit, which opened June 1.
And it’s thanks in part to what experts call “the greatest mammoth find ever”: a fully preserved, 40,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth named Lyuba.
The ancient centerpiece comes from the Siberian Arctic, where it was discovered in 2007.
Its skin and organs were found intact, “pickled” by lactic acid, making it one of the best-preserved specimens in the world.
Ever since news broke that Lyuba would be coming to Victoria, people have been coming out in droves.
“We’ve seen fantastic numbers, we’re 42 per cent up over last year’s numbers,” said RCBM’s head of marketing Erika Stenson. “It’s just really exciting to see the people coming in.”
Meanwhile, gift shop sales were up 38 per cent over last year.
Stenson said the exhibit has been a huge draw, especially with Lyuba’s first “visit” to Canada.
“We knew that our visitors really had a passion for mammoths,” she said.
Poor weather, increased tourism and a low dollar may have also helped fuel the boost at the museum, Stenson said.
But word of mouth hasn’t hurt either.
“Families are going through here and going back home and raving to their friends, ‘You’ve gotta go see this,’” said Grant Keddie, curator of archeology. “This one really seems to be taking off.”
He expects by the time the Ice Age exhibit closes on Dec. 31, it will have smashed attendance records at the 130-year-old museum.
Patrons of the Royal BC Museum in Victoria crowd around Lyuba, an intact 40,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth specimen, Thurs., July 7, 2016. (CTV Vancouver Island)
Lubya, a 40,000-year-old preserved baby woolly mammoth, will be on display at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria as part of a new exhibit opening June 1. May 27, 2016. (CTV Vancouver Island)