• By: OLM Staff

The Canadian Museum of Nature unveils the new Vale Earth Gallery

The Canadian Museum of Nature is reopening the Vale Earth Gallery tomorrow, after an extensive renovation. The new gallery has been expanded to 8,000 square feet and showcases new displays, activities, and interactive elements about the geological makeup of our planet.

Meg Beckel, the museum’s President and CEO, expressed her excitement over the gallery’s expansion. “We are confident it will be very popular with our visitors,” she said. According to Beckel, the team behind the gallery’s creation took a subject that is very challenging to present and made it fun and accessible to the public.

Dr. Scott Ercit, the museum’s resident mineralogical researcher, said the new Vale Gallery is not just an expansion of the old exhibit, but “truly a whole new gallery.”

A 6-foot interactive globe allows visitors to control the movement of the continents and tectonic plates.

Visitors are taken on a “journey through time,” as the gallery begins with the origins of the universe, the formation of the planets, and the inner and outer structure of the Earth. A massive six-foot-tall interactive globe gives visitors a chance to view and interact with the shifting of the tectonic plates, while new machines – like the Sedimentator, the Magmanator and the Metamorphicator – allow visitors to make their own kinds of rock. Interactive games, like make-your-own-volcano and cause-an-earthquake, let guests control the devastating power of our moving planet. A giant wall of sediment comes complete with dinosaur fossils. A walk-in limestone cave replica is adorned with a dripping waterfall, stalagmites, stalactites, and a few hidden bats.

Display cases contain almost 1,000 different mineral samples and are accompanied by touch-screen information panels that offer aspiring geologists and curious visitors a chance to know more about each sample, from the atomic makeup of quartz to where the name quartz came from in the first place. Dr. Ercit, whose extensive experience in the field of mineralogy has led to a mineral sample being named after him, said the museum’s collection is “one of the best in the world. “

Dan Boivin, head of exhibit design at the museum, observed that the Vale Gallery is “the most complicated exhibit in the museum to date.” For Boivin and the entire design team, creating the new exhibit was a “communication exercise,” mixing all types of media together to present an exhibit that is just as interesting to children as it is to university students.  “There are things you can touch, things you can do, things you can see, and all of it comes together to create an immersive experience.”

New machines – like the Sedimentator, the Magmanator and the Metamorphicator – allow visitors to use heat and pressure to create different types of rocks.


Explore a walk-in limestone cave replica, adorned with a dripping waterfall and a few hidden bats.

The gallery holds nearly 1,000 different minerals, gems, and rock samples, ranging between a few pounds to 225 kg.

The Vale Earth Gallery will be open to the public on November 30. For more information, visit nature.ca

TOP PHOTO: Michael Bainbridge, Canadian Museum of Nature.

ALL OTHER PHOTOS: Jamie Kronick, Canadian Museum of Nature.