June 8,2022: Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (RTMP, and often referred to as the Royal Tyrrell Museum) is a palaeontology museum and research facility in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. The museum was named in honour of Joseph Burr Tyrrell, and is situated within a 12,500-square-metre-building (135,000 sq ft) designed by BCW Architects at Midland Provincial Park.

Former name Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (1985–1990)
Established 25 September 1985; 36 years ago[note 1]
Location 1500 N Dinosaur Trail,
Drumheller, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates 51°28′45″N 112°47′24″W
Type Palaeontological
Visitors 470,000 (2016–17)[1]
Executive director Lisa Making[2]
Architect BCW Architects
Owner Government of Alberta[3]
Website tyrrellmuseum.com
Efforts to establish a palaeontology museum were announced by the provincial government in 1981, with the palaeontology program of the Provincial Museum of Alberta spun-off to help facilitate the creation of a palaeontology museum. After four years of preparation, the Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology was opened in September 1985. The museum was later renamed the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in June 1990, following its bestowal of the title "royal" from Queen Elizabeth II. The museum's building was expanded twice in the 21st century. The first expansion was designed by BCW Architects, and was completed in 2003; while the second expansion was designed by Kasian Architecture, and was completed in 2019.

The museum's personal collection includes over 160,000 cataloged fossils, consisting of over 350 holotypes, providing the museum with the largest collection of fossils in Canada. The museum displays approximately 800 fossils from its collection in its museum exhibits. In addition to exhibits, the museum's fossil collection are also used by the museum's research program, which carries a mandate to document and analyze geological and palaeontological history.


During the late 1970s, the government of Alberta began to consider building within, or adjacent to Dinosaur Provincial Park.[4] In 1981, the provincial government formally announced plans to build a palaeontology museum.[4] However, the museum was built in Midland Provincial Park near Drumheller, as opposed to Dinosaur Provincial Park.[4] The construction of the museum formed a part of a larger initiative from premier Peter Lougheed, to establish a network of provincially-operated museums and interpretive centres in select small towns and rural areas throughout Alberta.[4] The provincial government had allocated C$30 million to build the museum.[5] The development of the museum was largely led by the institution's first director, David Baird.[5]

The Provincial Museum of Alberta's palaeontology program, including its collection, and a large portion of its staff, was spun-off in 1981 in preparation for the opening of the new museum.[4][6] The staff of the future palaeontology museum worked in a temporary office space in downtown Edmonton until 1982, when they were relocated to another temporary office, laboratory, and workshop in Drumheller.[4] Prior to opening, the museum's informal working name was the Palaeontological Museum and Research Institute, although it was changed by Baird to the Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, in honour of Joseph Tyrrell, a geologist of the Geological Survey of Canada.[4] Tyrrell accidentally discovered the first reported dinosaur fossil at the Red Deer River valley, while searching for coal seams in 1884.[7]

The Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology was opened to the public on 25 September 1985.[8] In the same year, the museum announced its participation the China-Canada Dinosaur Project, the institution's first collaborative, out-of-province research project. The collaborative effort marked the first meaningful collaboration between Chinese and western palaeontologists since the Chinese Communist Revolution.[9]

On 28 June 1990, the museum was renamed the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, after it was bestowed the title royal by Queen Elizabeth II.[8] The museum's volunteer support group, the Royal Tyrrell Museum Cooperating Society, was formed in 1993, and helps fund museum-sanctioned research projects, publications, postdoctoral fellowships, and other museum-centred events.[10]

In 2003, the museum completed its first major expansion to its building, the ATCO Tyrrell Learning Centre annex.[11]

Plans to expand the museum's building again were underway as early as 2013, although the museum did not announce its plans to expand the museum building until 2016.[12] The expansion plan saw the construction of a learning lounge annex, that increased the building's size by an additional 1,300 square metres (14,000 sq ft).[13] The learning lounge annex was created in response to the feedback received from the museum, which requested more hands-on exhibits and activities at the museum.[14] The expansion for the museum was funded by the provincial and federal governments, costing approximately C$9.3 million.[15] The provincial government provided C$5.7 million, while the remaining C$3.5 million was provided by the federal government.[15] The expansion marks the first time the museum's received cultural infrastructure funding from the federal government.[15] The learning lounge annex was formally opened to the public on 28 June 2019.[14]
































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