Museum of Anthropology


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Canada's largest teaching museum, 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, the current building is an ingenious amalgam of concrete and glass, modeled to reflect the West Coast's traditional wooden 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 dazzling range of aboriginal sculptures, totem poles, feast dishes and masks to be admired in natural light. You are encouraged to touch some exhibits, notably Bill Reid's cedar bear and sea wolf.

Bill Reid is considered the museum's most important artist, and his influence is strongly felt, but the museum also showcases 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 1976 wooden doors are by four Gitxsan woodworkers. Collections from Africa, Asia and Central America 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.

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Museum of Anthropology details

6393 NW Marine Drive,
at West Mall

Area Vancouver

Transport Bus 4, 17, 44 then 10min walk.

Telephone 604 822 5087

Museum of Anthropology website

Open Mid Oct-mid May 11am-9pm Tue; 11am-5pm Wed-Sun. Mid May-mid Oct 10am-5pm daily (until 9pm Tue).

Admission $9; $7 reductions; free under-6s. Pay-as-you-can 5-9pm Tue.

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Comments & ratings

By Natasha - May 19 2010

The admission rates have changed since the museum underwent the $55.5 million renewal project, in which the museum increased its size by 50%. The visible storage is now the Multiversity Galleries, where thousands of objects from around the globe are showcased in large glass cases, with drawers below them that can be opened to showcase more objects. The touch screen computer terminals in the galleries provide the visitor with increased information on objects.

The rates are $14 for adults; $12 for students and seniors (65+); $35 for families; free for children 6 and under; $7 Tuesdays 5-9pm.