close up of a section of an archival map showing Vancouver Island

Processing and licensing fees

Providing access to the materials in our collections is one of our core values. So is our long-term financial sustainability. Did you know that we are responsible for generating almost 50 per cent of our basic operating costs? This includes the costs to maintain, and provide access to, the collections.

To balance these needs, the Royal BC Museum levies a processing fee to provide reproductions of images, maps and other materials from our collections.

The processing fee covers the costs to the museum and archives to source, process, clear the materials for use and provide the files. Our work includes essential reviews, such as ensuring there are no legal restrictions to the materials you have requested.

On the other hand, we only apply a licensing fee when materials will be used in or as part of projects where revenue is generated (e.g. ticketed lectures, publications for sale, films, advertising etc.). We also charge a licensing fee when material will be featured on websites that include third party advertising or sell products.

In other words, even if you represent a non-profit organization, if you or your organization plan to use materials from the museum and archives in a context that produces revenue or you are being paid to produce the product, we will apply a licensing fee.

Please note that we do not levy fees for Indigenous requests for cultural materials, as these are covered under the Province of BC program grant. Nor do we levy licensing fees for projects produced for and distributed to the public for free, or for museum and archives in BC that will be featuring the materials in exhibitions.

All licensing and permissions fees go toward the costs of caring for, conserving and providing access to the collections.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, the Royal BC Museum conducts an annual review of the licensing program and its fees, ensuring both are consistent with other publicly-funded provincial museums and archives in Canada.

Waiver request process

If you feel your project deserves an exemption from the standard licensing fee schedule, please fill out this waiver application form so we may review your petition.   

Waiver requests are reviewed once a month.  Please submit your completed waiver to to ensure it is logged and included in the monthly review.

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