About The Museum



MOA. A place of extraordinary architectural beauty. A place of provocative programming and vibrant, contemporary exhibitions. A place of active exploration and quiet contemplation. A place of world arts and cultures.

A place for you.

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is world-renowned for its collections, research, teaching, public programs, and community connections. It is also acclaimed for its spectacular architecture and unique setting on the cliffs of Point Grey.

To extend our role as public and research institution, we have just completed a major expansion and renewal project, creating amazing new opportunities for research, teaching, and public enjoyment. Visit us soon, and visit us often - there's always something new to experience at MOA!



Our Mission

To inspire understanding of and respect for world arts and cultures.

Vision

MOA will become one of the world's principal hubs for exhibition, teaching, and research of international visual, intangible, and performative culture, and critical and collaborative museology. It will provide a transformative environment for visitors to learn about themselves and others, and to consider contemporary and historical events and issues from multiple perspectives. It will enhance its international profile while working locally, maintaining and strengthening its focus on First Nations peoples of British Columbia as well as diverse cultural communities. It will embrace interdisciplinarity and champion collaboration. It will provide innovative and imaginative exhibits and programs, and encourage full academic and student participation while promoting UBC's values, commitments, and aspirations.

Values

Inspiration - inspiring curiosity about world arts and cultures

Innovation - questioning, experimenting, exploring, and challenging boundaries in ways that advance a civil society and promote intercultural understanding

Inclusiveness - providing a welcoming environment, where learning and exchange of ideas is supported within and across disciplines

Community - building and sustaining relationships with diverse communities by encouraging their active engagement and honouring their contributions to our shared society

Stewardship - acquiring, caring for, and displaying cultural objects to the highest professional standards

Service - serving the individuals, communities, publics, and partners we work with in ways that benefit them directly


History & Organization

Vancouver's Museum of Anthropology was founded in 1949 in the basement of the Main Library at the University of British Columbia. Today, Canada's largest teaching museum is located in a spectacular building overlooking mountains and sea - its collections, exhibitions and programs renowned for giving access and insight into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world.

The Museum houses over 38,000 ethnographic objects and 535,000 archaeological objects, many of which originate from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. Massive totem poles, carved boxes, bowls, and feast dishes are featured in the Museum's Great Hall, while smaller (but no less magnificent) pieces in gold, silver, argillite, wood, ceramic, and other materials are exhibited elsewhere in the galleries.

MOA's Multiversity Galleries provide public access to almost 10,000 objects from around the world, and The Audain Gallery, MOA's new 5,800 sq ft temporary exhibition hall, showcases world-class travelling exhibits as well as those developed in-house.

For a plan of the Museum as whole, please click here: MOA Floorplan
MOA's Multiversity Galleries (MVG), please click here: Multiversity Galleries Floorplan


Building Highlights

The Museum of Anthropology building was designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, who based his award-winning design on traditional northern Northwest Coast post and beam structures. The original facility opened in 1976, and in 1990 a new wing was added, including a resource library, teaching laboratory, office, and exhibition gallery featuring 600 European ceramic pieces collected and donated by the late Dr. Walter Koerner. The total area of the original building and the Ceramics wing included 58,833 sq. feet of usable space: 16,092 sq. feet for academic functions (classrooms, labs, archival storage, and offices), and 38,889 sq. feet available to the public (exhibition and performance spaces, Visible Storage galleries, shop, and rental facilities).

Thanks to our Renewal Project, MOA has now nearly doubled in size. With the addition of another new wing in 2008, our existing building space of 79,900 sq ft has increased by 41,800 sq ft. A further 43,400 sq ft - nearly 75% - of the original building has been fully renovated.

A building highlight is a set of massive doors carved in 1976 by four master Gitxsan artists, Walter Harris, Earl Muldoe, Art Sterritt, and Vernon Stephens. Once located at the entrance to the Museum, these doors now frame the opening to the Museum Shop. Other highlights include the 15-metre glass walls of the Great Hall, beneath which stand towering totem poles from the Haida, Gitxsan, Nisga'a, Oweekeno and other First Nations; the Rotunda, where Bill Reid's massive sculpture, "The Raven and the First Men" is displayed; and the Koerner Ceramics Gallery, home to 600 pieces of 15-19th c. pottery.

The Museum grounds, designed by landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander, feature indigenous plants and grasses amongst two outdoor Haida Houses and ten full-scale totem poles (one inside the larger of the two Haida Houses), and two carved house-posts and a Welcome Figure. Recent commissions include two outdoor sculptures by Musqueam artists, one by Joe Becker, and the other by Susan Point. Since MOA is built on traditional Musqueam First Nations land, it is appropriate that works by artists from this area are the first to greet visitors when they arrive on site.