Vancouver Anthropology Museum

The Museum of Anthropology at the UBC [MOA] is on the University of British Columbia campus, a short bus ride from downtown Vancouver. It is close to the Nitobe Garden [see earlier post and map].

It is the best museum in Vancouver [though the museums in Vanier Park are also worth visiting, particularly the Maritime Museum] and one of the best museums I have ever visited.

MOA houses over 40,000 ethnographic objects from almost every part of the world, including the South Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas and 535,000 archaeological objects. The ethnographic collection is a mixture of historical objects and contemporary objects. The most famous example of the latter is Bill Reid's yellow cedar carving shown below. Incidentally, there is also a Bill Reid gallery in downtown Vancouver.

The Raven and the First Men
The photographs below might make it appear that most of the ethnological material is from British Columbia's First Nations. That is not so.  There are over 15,000 objects from Asia, almost 12,000 from North America (of which only 7,100 are from the First Nations), approximately 4,300 from South and Central America, 4,000 from the Pacific islands and over 2,300 are from Africa. The object shown in this post is in the museum.
I find it hard to like concrete buildings but Arthur Erickson's beautifully situated building is an exception.

These First Nation doorways had a defensive function. Visitors had to enter a building through the openings indicated and to do so had to either crouch down or enter sideways.

Some First Nation carvings.

Chess set

The museum's collection is very well displayed. To make as much as possible available  display cabinets have drawers underneath where more objects can be inspected. A practice that other museums could follow. MOA also has terminals to a very useful online catalogue of over 38,000 object (33,000 with images) dotted throughout the building.

As well as being a tourist destination MOA is  a research and teaching museum, where UBC courses in art, anthropology, archaeology, conservation, and museum studies are given. Many UK museums have 'dumbed down' to attract the general public but there is non of that at MOA.

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