Beaty Biodiversity Museum
By YP Contributor

Cabinets of Curiosities

UBC's Beaty Biodiversity Museum was included in the Georgia Straight's 2013 Best of Vancouver as the “Best Collection of Weird Things in Drawers,” and that pretty much sums up the museum. This hidden gem, which opened on the UBC campus in 2010, is “An interactive library with lots of hands-on opportunities and experiences. We're engaging, we're telling stories and making science accessible to the public. When you visit us, you can let your curiosity curate your experience,” says marketing, communications and events coordinator, Mairin Kerr.

Mairin goes on to say: “It's important to understand our place in the world, to inspire an understanding of biodiversity, its origin and its importance to humans. We champion a greater sense of collective responsibility for our biodiversity.”

The Beaty does that by focusing on the positive rather than the negative. “We're a stop-and-smell-the-roses place,” Mairin explains. With its positive, inspiring approach to the natural world, the museum focuses on all the amazing things that nature does and is capable of. “We want people to fall in love with biodiversity, fall in love with the natural world and become advocates for it.”

We want people to fall in love with biodiversity, fall in love with the natural world and become advocates for it. - Mairin Kerr, marketing, communications and events coordinator
Beaty Biodiversity Museum, fossils, shells, insects, fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants
The Beaty's Victorian cabinet displays a mixture of creatures including a passenger pigeon, deer, a tray of eggs and insects. Photo by: Art Shostak

Cool Bones

To that end visitors can explore the Beaty's collections, over 95 per cent of which are on display rather than the three to five per cent most museums have available to the public. Its collections include fossils, shells, insects, fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants from within BC and around the world.

When you enter the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, housed in a building that won the 2011 Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Award in Architecture, you come face to face with the museum's centerpiece, the largest blue whale skeleton on display in Canada. It's 26-meters long and hovers above the collections, immediately engaging visitors.

From the main entrance you descend below the whale's skeleton so you can view it from many angles, and once downstairs you can start pulling out drawers and opening cupboards. “You never quite know what you're going to see,” says Mairin. “You open up one drawer and there's a 10-million-year-old fossil, while the next may have a tarantula in it.”

While there's heaps to explore, the whale is the most popular exhibit and the Lambeosaurus foot is another perennial favourite, while visitors also love the "Victorian cabinet with a mixture of creatures — a passenger pigeon, deer, a tray of eggs, insects and more."

Beaty Biodiversity Museum, fossils, shells, insects, fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants
Over 95 percent of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum's collection is accessible to the public.

Biodiversity for All

The Beaty's team of interpreters, who are all experts on different fields within biology such as botany or zoology, helps make the Beaty's collections accessible to the public that visit the museum from all over the world.

With over 500 natural history exhibits, different exhibitions throughout the year and plans for upcoming events such as Brewing Biodiversity, the Beaty's a great spot to while away a rainy Vancouver afternoon exploring the diversity of life.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum, fossils, shells, insects, fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants
The Beaty is housed in an award-winning building.
Close menu