Written by Neil Judson Dinosaur in the Museum On September 28, 2011, the Royal BC Museum parted three black curtains to reveal the 2011 and 2012 exhibition schedule to an eagerly expecting crowd of museum supporters. From the vivid beauty of wild animals in action, to the gaping jaws of a towering dinosaur, or the glitter and grace of a waving Queen Elizabeth II, the international lineup is designed to appeal to a wide demographic, including budding paleontologists, royalty aficionados and nature lovers. The three touring international exhibitions will begin their display on December 16, 2011 with the North American premiere of Wildlife Photographer of the Year from London's Natural History Museum. An ancient-looking tortoise slowly greeted the audience to help announce the exhibition which will showcase more than 100 award-winning photographs in 18 categories chosen from more than 40,000 entries from around the world. On May 17, 2012, Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries will shed new light on these fascinating creatures that were first identified nearly 200 years ago. Perfect for all ages, this exhibition is organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York and is making its only Canadian appearance right here in Victoria. With the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton on June 1, 2012, the Royal BC Museum will be the place to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Nearly 100 photographs from the royal photographer will recite a visual tale of the beloved princess, monarch and mother alongside extracts from Beaton's personal diaries and letters. This international touring lineup follows a year-long exploration of the museum's 125 years of research and collections, titled Royal BC Museum Behind the Scenes. The first segment of Behind the Scenes encapsulates Natural History and is currently showing until October 10, 2011.  "After a successful run offering a behind the scenes glimpse of our own natural history collection, we are throwing open the doors for our visitors to experience new explorations and discoveries," said Pauline Rafferty, CEO of the Royal BC Museum. "This year’s exhibitions herald from collections across the country, across the world and across time - there is something exciting for everyone." On Thursday, October 6, 2011, the Royal BC Museum is presenting Artifact or Artifiction, a fundraising gala that incorporates a fun game of trivia: Guests are presented with peculiar artifacts and must separate the extraordinary, but true, stories about their origins from the tall tales. Last year, the event, which is now in its seventh year, raised more than $90,000 for the touring Aliens Among Us exhibition currently travelling across British Columbia. Based on the excitement of the sneak preview this past week, the Royal BC Museum is poised to have another exciting year of shocks, surprises, education and antiquities. Which one will keep you coming back for more?