The Burgess Shale: The Virtual Museum of Canada

The Burgess Shale: The Virtual Museum of Canada
  • Online Exhibition
Take an online dive into a 500-million-year-old sea


Famous for its stunning fossils, The Burgess Shale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located high up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The fossils there offer a spectacular picture of ancient marine life that populated our planet 500 million years ago and play a critical role today in our understanding of the progression of life on Earth.

The Burgess Shale: Virtual Museum of Canada is a unique online digital experience that uses the latest web technology and high-resolution imagery to showcase hundreds of fossil specimens found at the site. Take a virtual submarine under the waves to the ancient seabed, learn about the Cambrian Explosion and the science behind The Burgess Shale, and follow its story through historic timelines and discoveries. Images depict the fossils as they were found, and digital animation techniques “unflatten” the fossils from within the rock layers, revealing these strange, delightful specimens as they would have once appeared.

Enter the site

Member of the Virtual Museum of Canada

Member of the Virtual Museum of Canada

The Burgess Shale online exhibition was created by the ROM and Parks Canada, with funding from the Virtual Museum of Canada Investment Programs, an initiative of the Canadian Heritage Information Network. The Burgess Shale online exhibition is part of the Virtual Museum of Canada.

Authored by: Cheryl Fraser