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B.C.'s Black history showcased in new exhibit at Royal BC Museum

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The Royal BC Museum is recognizing the contributions of Black people in B.C. with a new gallery dedicated to Black history.

The free exhibit debuted Saturday in the museum's "Pocket Gallery," a small display space on the ground floor that the museum typically uses to showcase behind-the-scenes work by its staff.

Titled "Hope Meets Action: Echoes Through the Black Continuum," the new exhibit was developed by the BC Black History Awareness Society in partnership with the museum. 

The displays were "written, told and designed by Black voices," according to the museum

Chris O'Connor, the museum's learning program director, told CTV News the exhibit represents an effort the institution is making to shift its approach.

"This work of working with community, working alongside community, honouring their voice, bringing that forward, is a big part of the kind of work that we'll be doing going forward," O'Connor said. "This is an example of that."

The exhibit features audio recordings of Black British Columbians from around the province, as well as work by young Black artists on the history of Vancouver's Hogan's Alley community.

"It's not very big, but it's very significant, given that this is the first time something like this is happening," said Silvia Mangue Alene, president of the BC Black History Awareness Society.

The display comes as the museum attempts to change its culture. In the past two years the museum has been rocked by two public resignations accusing the institution of being a racist and toxic workplace.

In February, the CEO stepped down and in June officials apologized after an investigation confirmed the workplace discriminated against Indigenous employees. 

The exhibit will be in place until March 1. After that, the museum plans to add some of the displays to its permanent galleries. 

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