Holding House

Note: All WP Saskatchewan Transcripts are edited for flow and readability.

(Narrator) If you had ever wondered who or what roamed Saskatchewan long before you did, this is the place you go to find out.

(John) “My name is John Snell. I’m head of exhibits and programming here at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is the provincial museum. We house First Nations collections. We also look at the archeology, the paleontology, the natural history, and human impacts on Saskatchewan, and how Saskatchewan fits with the rest of the world.”

“What we do is we collect and hold on to all the important history, natural history and cultural history of Saskatchewan. We put a lot of it on display and we also have a lot in our collections. So we’re the holding house of all things Saskatchewan.”

(Narrator) It has been operating for nearly 120 years. The Royal Sask Museum is the oldest provincial museum in the prairie provinces, and over 130,000 visitors step through the door each year.

(John) “So what we hope is people come in here… We’re not trying to give people a PhD, we’re trying to get people interested in Saskatchewan, and we do that through exhibits. We have interactive exhibits, we have amazing sculptures and paleontology finds and First Nations artifacts. So we’re hoping that people come in here, learn a bit more, and if we’re really lucky, they go out and try to discover more on their own.”

“Our exhibits are amazing. They’re so well done and you really get a lot of interest and impact from them. And a lot of that has to do with the artists that we call in to help us put these exhibits together.”

(Narrator) The museum has long focused on natural history and showcasing indigenous cultures that are native to the Saskatchewan area. But these days the museum is taking a closer look at something a little more avant garde. “The Anthropocene: The Human Era”, in a new exhibit they simply call “Home”. 

(John) “So this is the home exhibit. The home exhibit is in English, French and Cree. The new exhibit looks at our most recent epoch, the Anthropocene. And this is the only epoch where humans have actually had a major impact on the environment. You know, we’re going through the sixth major extinction of the world right now, and that’s due to the Anthropocene. So one of the major extinctions that everyone knows about is the dinosaurs. They all died out like 65 million years ago when the meteorite hit. Yeah, dinosaurs are one of the things we recognize and we know they’re not around now. We’re doing the same to a lot of animals. A lot of ecosystems are really being destroyed, by what mankind’s doing.”

(Narrator) For decades, Scotty’s roar was the main attraction, or terror. But now, for both adults and kids alike, it’s all about the big blue marble.

(John) “We find some people just come in here and sit. They watch the blue marble go around. It’s kind of relaxing. It’s kind of magical. I mean, you can walk all the way around the globe and it just looks like it’s levitating there. It’s great, and it takes datasets from NASA, and NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And so we have really recent datasets where we can show what’s happening on the globe in a global perspective. And we tell that story through a Saskatchewan lens.”

(John) “Those were the first two areas. The next area, talks about urbanization and the problems that urbanization has had on the globe and people in general.”

(Narrator) Saskatchewan’s story. Where we came from and now, where we are going.

(John) “And then the final area, we try to leave it with a sort of a happy note where we talk about how being at one with nature actually helps you get through all this difficulty. And maybe if we relate more to nature, we’ll do better things for ourselves and for the earth. It really offers an opportunity for us to look at what we’re doing to the world and how we might be able to change things. We’re all worried about climate change and inequalities of different nations, and so this gives us an opportunity to look at it and come up with our own ideas of where we should be going.”

(Narrator) If it’s been a few decades since Scotty chilled your bones, it might be time to let a new experience rattle your reality, at the Royal Sask Museum.

This WP Saskatchewan story features John Snell, Head of Programming and Exhibits at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina, Saskatchewan.

WP (Work & Play) Saskatchewan is a fund-raising production of the registered non-profit charitable Saskatchewan Safety Council (Charitable Registration Number: 11914-0382-RR). It serves the strategic priorities of the organization by creating community connections and provides a new platform upon which injury prevention messaging can be communicated.