UBC’s Museum of Anthropology is one of Vancouver’s best places for culture, history, West Coast First Nation artifacts and escapes from the rain.
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE MOA?
The museum closed for a number of weeks beginning in the spring of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It reopened to the public in the summer, however, with new safety procedures that promote physical distancing.
In December, 2020, the Grand Hall at the museum closed to the public because of construction. For the next number of months that area of the building is undergoing seismic upgrades to make it more earthquake resistant. Other rooms, however, are still open.
A Future for Memory: Art and Life After the Great East Japan Earthquake is the current exhibition on display at the museum. It runs from February 11th until September 5th in 2021. The exhibition commemorates the 10th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake that caused the tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima Japan.
For more information about the status of the museum see the MOA website.
To see more events and attractions that are open click Vancouver COVID-19 Updates.
Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology has an extensive collection of West Coast First Nations artifacts including a number of impressive totem poles and other sculptures. It also has many artifacts from around the world including 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. The museum is in the northwest region of the UBC campus which is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.
The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday year round, and on Mondays from mid-May to mid-October. Its hours of operation are usually from 10 am until 5 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.
Note: As of January, 2021, rates are slightly different temporarily. To reflect the closure of the Great Hall, adults can get in for $15 and both seniors and students for $13. For a family of four it costs $35. Also as of early 2021, because of COVID-19, the museum is closed on Thursday evenings (and so the discounted rate at that time is not currently offered).
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 at one side.
Inside the Great Hall (when it is open) are impressive 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, including his Raven and the First Men piece, which was carved out of yellow cedar.
Outside the museum there are a couple of impressive Haida longhouses and a collection of totem poles, some of which were also carved by Bill Reid. The Museum of Anthropology has the world’s largest collection of Bill Reid’s work in fact. If you want to see more though, then check out the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in downtown Vancouver.
Indoors at the Museum of Anthropology there is also a gallery featuring ceramics and other sections with various artifacts showcasing different cultures from around the world, including lots 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 at least a couple per day, often at 11 am and 2 pm. They often last for about an hour, are very informative and help you get the most out of the museum and your visit. (Note: Tours may or may not be taking place while COVID-19 is a concern.)
TIP #3: Combine your trip to the Museum of Anthropology with a trip to other attractions at UBC including a visit to the UBC Botanical Garden and Japanese-styled Nitobe Memorial Garden, a stroll through beautiful Pacific Spirit Regional Park, 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 short, but steep 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. On his website you’ll find everything from wood carvings to jewellery, paintings, prints and even his own line of clothing featuring Alano’s art.
Ways to Save
Below are more tips, this time about ways to save money on admission.
TIP #6: The Museum of Anthropology is often a participating attraction in Vancouver’s Kidsworld Program where, for a really low membership fee, children ages 4 to 13 can visit dozens of area attractions on specific days at no extra cost. 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 click 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 Museums and Gardens 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 the year most years, although not in the winter of 2020/21).
TIP #8: Another way to see the museum for a good deal is to use a 2-for-1 coupon from the Entertainment Book. The book is available for purchase from area schools and non-profit organizations in the fall and online year-round.
Click the MOA‘s website for further information about the museum and its exhibits.
Other articles you might be interested in include the following:
- 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