Sunday, June 10

Year over year, visiting the Royal Saskatchewan Museum remains one the favorite destinations for a city outing for our family.  It is also the first place I will take any visitor to Regina who doesn't have enough time to go off the beaten path to more remote locations, yet needs to get a sense of the diversity of the Great Plains environment one finds in Saskatchewan -- not to mention the more boreal ecosystems.

In some cases, the dioramas and exhibits available at the RSM are the best public view currently available of some very special places like St-Victor's Petroglyphs. The RSM's diorama features easily viewed replicas of the carved motifs that have has become so fragile over the years in the real-life version on sandstone that access had to be fenced off. The RSM's rendition is surprisingly immersive in the experience it provides, an evocative glimpse of the real site. It works for us. And having experienced the real thing a few years ago -- a magical sunset experience -- I can attest as to how challenging it is to distinguish the delicately carved figures at St-Victor, even at low light.

Another example I like to use of the ways in which the RSM immerses visitors while it educates them about Saskatchewan is this lovely diorama featuring pronghorn antelopes. How many of you have ever stood this close to live antelopes? Not likely anyone. They are, after all, the second fastest mammal on earth after the cheetah. Seeing these beautiful -- albeit "naturalized" -- animals in this re-created environment helps us understand more vividly how they are so well adapted to their plains habitat. Well... seeing them like this helps understand at least why being able to run fast might be somewhat useful in a place where hiding spots from coyotes are relatively rare.