Thursday, May 24, 2012

UBC Museum of Anthropology

During exam season, I had a 10 hour gap between exams and I didn't want to go all the way home, so I decided to go visit the UBC Museum of Anthropology (MOA). (Website: because I heard that it was free for UBC students, staff and faculty. Because it was free I thought it was worth while. 
The entrance gave me a feeling like it was a hotel lobby. Inside there is a guy sitting at a table and it resembles a concierge. To the left was the MOA Cafe and the right was the gift shop. When you go in to buy your ticket, they will ask you to put your bags inside a locker, so remember not to bring your camping materials or anything big and valuable. The price is 25cents and non-refundable.

The Museum
Once you are inside the museum, there is a hallway that you will go through that will lead you to a big atrium / room. The windows looking out was stunning (as I walked in there, I thought... this would make a really good living room). In this room there are many artifacts and it mostly features the works by aboriginals in the BC area. There are some neat things, such as the long boats that the aboriginals used, sculptures and totem poles. There was this wood carving done by Bill Gates that resembles a bear that is pretty cool that you are able to take a picture with and touch. Most of the things in this atrium are touchable and feel able, according to museum staff, unless otherwise stated.
After the main atrium, there is two other major parts of the museum. To access them, you will need to pass through an automatic door to the right. After passing through that door, you will see three main rooms. The first one is immediately to the left, which is the Bill Reid Exibit. Bill Reid (biography: was a really famous artist in BC who made various of famous sculptures and works such as the Spirit of the Haidi Gwaii, which is currently featured on the Canadian dollar bill (the paper kind). There are various small to large sculptures, The sculpture, "The Raven and the First Men" being the center piece. It is quite breath taking. It is a permanent exhibit, so it will always be there.
The next exhibit is the multi-versity gallery which has artifacts from all over the world. With many cultures included, even ones from places such as Taiwan (picture to the right is a Taiwanese Puppet) and Hong Kong. There are a few aisle of things from Asia, there are things such as miniature models houses, articles of clothing, it is pretty cool! However, the exhibits only have a few pieces of artifacts from each culture. They have more in the storage, but they rotate it so that there are different things for you to see between each visit. There were also some Buddhist sculptures that I found interesting. In addition, there is also the Audin gallery (sorry no pictures because they weren't allowed) and the O'brian Gallery that had more artifacts but were centered around the things found in the BC region, though there might be some collections related to the world. There is also an exhibit that features some European ceramics that are pretty interesting. For a full list of current exhibits that is on demonstration, please visit:

Aboriginal Long House and Outside

For those that have seen the UBC Lipdub, they filmed it outside the field of the MOA. There you can find the Haida Long house, along with a pond and totem poles. This part of the museum can be accessed through a trail by walking leftwards before entering. This exhibit is FREE and it offers a scenic view of the ocean to one side and the museum main hall in the other. 

The MOA Cafe

The appearance of the MOA cafe doesn't look too appealing as it appears to be some sort of cafeteria for staff members. Also, the pricing of food isn't too expensive, but at the same time it isn't cheap. What caught my attention was the Salmon chowder. The price was around $4 per bowl, and inside there were lots of vegetables and salmon. It wasn't too greasy or salty, and it was full of flavour. I would highly recommend getting this chowder when you are there. Otherwise, when visiting, it would be a good idea to pack food or to eat inside UBC (like the Student Union Building or the Village (posts coming up soon))

Even though there are alot of see, I've got to admit, the price of entering the museum for non-UBC students/staff/faculty is alittle bit high (TIP: On Tuesday evenings, admission is only $9!) but compared to watching a movie, it is about the same price, and you probably get to learn alot more about cultures. Because many of the museum's collection is stored away, you don't get to see alot at a time but enough. The whole museum probably can be visited in 2 hours. It isn't a great place to bring kids because they can get easily bored of these things unless they are into anthropology, also, many of these things cannot be touched, but things like the sculptures are very tempting to be used as monkey bars to climb on. That said, the admission is going towards a great cause in preserving and showcasing anthropology around the world and in BC. With collections that you can't find elsewhere, the price is pretty decent.

Direction/ Location
The actual location of the Museum is only a few minutes away from the main bus loop. (Maps and direction, please visit:
I started the walk from Irving K. Barber learning center, then I turned on to Main Mall toward the Canadian Flag. There you will see a balcony that has a view toward Burrard Inlet / False Creek. It is an awesome place to take a picture because you get the mountains. Toward the side of the balcony, you should see a staircase. Walk all the way down pass the staircase and across the street, the museum should be on the left hidden behind the trees.

TIP: If you are a student/ staff who is doing research, you can book a time to go and see their secret selection with their staff in their laboratories.

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