How to Plan for the Next Nightmare at the Royal BC Museum


Although the Royal BC Museum‘s evening party for this upcoming All Hallow’s Eve is sold out, people interested in this festival will no doubt have to plan far in advance for next year’s Nightmare at the Museum. Interest for this event has been very heavy, and Kim Gough, one of the staff’s event coordinators, reveals that the goal of expanding interest in this archive’s collections in a fun evening event is achieved.

“The best connection that was there for this time of the year seemed to be about the Victorian period’s fixation on dying [in reference to our first event],” said Gough, “Fixation may not be the right word but it was certainly an important part of that culture.”

In previous events, the gallery held a faux Victorian style séance. That was led by actors and they were probably more in line with the Victorian séances that were conducted at the time. There were probably more people out to make some money. While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, wanted to believe, Harry Houdini was out to disprove the impossible. This escape artist believed any competent magician can muster the illusion. These two frequently clashed over what is truly paranormal.

This year, another aspect of spirit communication will be conducted. Just how the Ouija board is used will be explored. Some people may get squeamish because of its reputation, and the staff will look into performing demonstrations safely.

There will also be other events going on where participants can sit down to watch or join in anytime during the evening. There’s also going to be different craft areas, and this coordinator says they have been proven to always be popular, so it will be an ongoing feature. Additionally, there will be booths where attendees can get their photo taken. In the Majestic Theatre, a classic Universal monster film will be shown. Last time, Nosferatu was shown. This year offers Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. From the first floor to third floor, there will be something different to have people able to walk around and explore. People will be able to come and go as they please to participate in these many events, dance the night away or visit certain galleries, before they close.


“In the 2nd year, the event grew in attendance probably by another almost 100 people and we just kept that theme of living and dying. But in what we found, we were limited with the space available for the people to explore. They wanted to see more of the museum,” said Gough.

This year, the organizers decided the event should be broader and have it so Halloween is not as tied to all the collections. There’s a little more liberty for the organizers to experiment and try different things in the Natural History and Modern History gallery but yet stay in theme for the season at least, but not as centric to the Victorian Age where some of its citizens were preoccupied with death.

This time around, there are going to be frequent tours into BC’s past where suspicious deaths and accidents in the building of this province are looked at. Also included will be a dance and costume contest. DJ Boitano and Bučan Bučan are back. Performances will also take place using dolls, vampires and zombies. Does this mean Michael Jackson‘s ghost will be in the house? Gough did mention that back when she lived in Alberta, the Galt Museum had a resident ghost and their Halloween events would revolve around that.

As for what’s next, the best advice is to mark the calendars for next year now. The space is limited at the museum and at most, it can hold around 800 people as long as people are spread out.

“I can’t say if this event will go in such a large-scale direction again down the road or focus on a different area of the museum. I think we’ll stay with Halloween as an event but whether or not it’ll be based in spiritualism, about natural history or if it’ll be a broader — we’ll figure it out afterwards,” said Gough.


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