Vancouver: It’s Anthropological…

January 23, 2012 by

Top Attractions, Uniquely Canada

The University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver is home to, among other things, one of the most famous museums in Canada – a museum that just doubled in size in 2008 and has more opportunities for discovery than you can fit in a day.

UBC Museum of Anthropology

Famous sculpture at MOA: The Raven and the First Men, by First Nations artist, Bill Reid. Photo courtesy of Tim Gillin via Flickr.

The MOA (not to be confused with the MoMA in New York), or Museum of Anthropology, is not your average museum; its exhibits cover a wide range of cultural, societal, and art-related perspectives. Founded in 1949 in the library basement, the MOA has now become the nation’s biggest teaching museum and is recognized worldwide for the huge variety of items under its (impressively designed) roof.

Indigenous artifacts such as boxes, bowls, and totem poles – over half a million archaeological items all together – are available to ponder over. Some are from First Nations bands, others are from far corners of the world. Traveling exhibits can be found making an appearance in the Audain Gallery (one of the latest additions).

Cool exhibits happening at the time of writing include two Fijian canoe-carvers, Titoko Maceibure and Jeke Viwalu, whom you can watch work, and an eclectic collection of international objects and media that reflect the concept of memory (“A Green Dress”).

Guided gallery tours are free with admission. Check the events page for upcoming film screenings, speeches, and concerts.

On an unrelated note, visitors are treated to a spectacular view. And it’s not just the landscape; the museum building itself is quite an experience. With 50-foot glass walls (the Great Hall), exquisitely carved doors, two outdoor sculptures, and ten full-scale totem poles, you’ll forget that you didn’t come just to see the architecture!

- Natalie Grant

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