UBC’s Museum of Anthropology is one of Vancouver’s best places to visit for culture, history, West Coast First Nation artifacts and escapes from the rain.
NOTE: The museum is closed as of January 16th, 2023, due to seismic upgrades. It is expected to reopen sometime in late 2023 (all things going according to plan).
This article contains the following information about the Museum of Anthropology:
Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology has an extensive collection of West Coast First Nations artifacts. It includes a number of impressive totem poles and other sculptures. The museum also has many artifacts from around the world. Among them are significant pieces from Africa and the South Pacific.
The Museum of Anthropology can be found at 6393 NW Marine Drive at the University of British Columbia. A 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, the museum is in the northwest region of the UBC campus.
The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday year-round. Its hours of operation are usually from 10 am until 5 pm. The exception is on the last Thursday of each month when the museum is open until 9 pm.
MOA Admission Prices
Admission is normally about $18 for adults and $47 for a family, but free for UBC students, UBC staff, and children ages 6 and under. MOA is also open Thursday evenings from 5 to 9 pm at a reduced rate of just $10.
What’s to See at MOA
The Museum of Anthropology’s Great Hall is a beautiful open space with a multi-story wall of glass on one side.
Inside the Great Hall are totem poles, canoes and artifacts from the Gitxsan, Kwakwaka’wakw, Haida, Nisga’a and Coast Salish First Nations.
In other areas of the facility, the museum has an impressive collection of work by West Coast Haida artist Bill Reid. At the museum you’ll see the celebrated artist’s Raven and the First Men piece which was carved out of yellow cedar.
There are a couple of Haida longhouses and a collection of totem poles outside the building, some of which were also carved by Bill Reid. In fact, the Museum of Anthropology has the world’s largest collection of Bill Reid’s work. Check out the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in downtown Vancouver if you’d like to see more.
There is a gallery featuring ceramics inside the museum. Other sections also store various artifacts showcasing different cultures from around the world that include a lot of masks.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to the Museum of Anthropology.
TIP #1: Don’t forget to pull out the many drawers at the museum. In addition to what’s on display, there is a lot to see in all the drawers below.
TIP #2: Join one of the complimentary tours. There are usually a couple each day that start at 12:30 and 2:00 pm. They usually last for an hour and will help you get the most out of your visit to the museum.
TIP #3: Combine your visit to the Museum of Anthropology with a trip to other UBC attractions such as the UBC Botanical Garden and Japanese-styled Nitobe Memorial Garden. Also consider strolling through beautiful Pacific Spirit Regional Park, watching a performance at the Chan Centre or just a simple walk around the campus.
TIP #4: Right outside the museum are wonderful walking trails with views of the Pacific Ocean to enjoy. Between UBC and downtown Vancouver are some of the region’s most beautiful beaches including Jericho, Locarno and Spanish Banks. There is also “clothing optional” Wreck Beach which is just a steep but short walk from the main campus and MOA.
TIP #5: If you’re looking for some authentic Indigenous Canadian art and can’t find what you’re looking for in the museum gift shop, one of our favourite local First Nation artists is Alano Edzerza. His work is available online at www.edzerzagallery.com. You’ll find everything on his website from wood carvings to jewellery, paintings, prints and even his own clothing line that features Alano’s art.
Ways to Save
Below are some tips about ways to save money on admission.
TIP #6: The Museum of Anthropology is often a participating attraction in Vancouver’s Kidsworld Program. Children ages 4 to 13 can visit dozens of area attractions on specific days at no extra cost for a really low membership fee. An accompanying adult is also free! It’s a great deal as the cost for the museum for an adult and child over age 6 is about half the price of a full Kidsworld membership. For more information check out Kidsworld.
TIP #7: If you are interested in seeing the Museum of Anthropology, UBC Botanical Garden, Nitobe Memorial Garden and Beaty Biodiversity Museum, consider buying the UBC Attractions Pass for around $33 per adult or $85 for a family. Just don’t forget that entrance to the Nitobe and UBC Botanical Gardens are by donation for about four months of most years.
Click the MOA‘s website for further information about the museum and its exhibits.
Other places of interest at UBC include the following:
- Beaty Biodiversity Museum
- UBC Botanical Garden
- Nitobe Memorial Garden
- Greenheart TreeWalk
- Pacific Spirit Park
Other articles that you might find interesting are listed below:
- Vancouver History and Culture
- Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art – an Indigenous art gallery in downtown Vancouver.
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – with First Nations’ exhibits in Whistler.
- Stanley Park’s Totem Poles and Indigenous Art
- Lower Mainland First Nations
- Vancouver Rainy Day Activities