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Museum of Anthropology @ UBCGuilhem Vellut / CC BY 2.0

Museum of Anthropology

Museum of Anthropology

Locals' Pick The cultural class of Vancouver

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Jeanette Jarville


Museum of Anthropology is in a building designed by the award winning architect Arthur Erickson, in a spectacular West Coast setting. It houses one of the world’s largest collections of First Nations art and historical objects from around the world.

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Colleen Friesen

Travel Writer

The Museum of Anthropology at UBC is a chance to get up close and personal to some epic totem poles and other incredible displays of arts and culture by First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest.

The cultural class of Vancouver Editors' Note

Canada’s largest, and arguably Vancouver’s only truly world-class cultural institution, the Museum of Anthropology began life in the 1920s in the basement of the UBC library. Designed by Arthur Erickson in 1976, it is modeled to reflect traditional wooden west coast post and beam structures.

Look through the soaring glass walls of the Great Hall and you’ll see some of them in the re-creation of two Haida longhouses in the museum’s grounds. These windows allow the Great Hall’s range of aboriginal sculptures, totem poles, feast dishes and masks to be admired in natural light.

You are also encouraged to touch some exhibits, notably Bill Reid’s cedar bear and sea wolf. Reid (1920-1998) is considered the museum’s most important artist. In addition to works by Reid and Martin, the museum showcases beautiful carvings from First Nations communities of the Pacific Northwest. Even before you get inside you pass two imposing figures by Musqueam and Nuu-chah-nulth artists, and the magnificent wooden doors are by four Gitxsan wood workers, dating from 1976.

Collections from Africa, Asia, Central America and further afield sometimes sit strangely with the local artifacts, but the museum’s visible storage is another treasure trove, allowing the public to browse through 13,000 objects.

Museum of Anthropology
6393 N.W. Marine Drive Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z2 Vancouver
604 822 5087
Sept-May 11am-9pm Tue; 11am-5pm Wed-Sun. May-Sept 10am-9pm Tue; 10am-5pm Wed-Sun.