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Museum of Anthropology

Browse world-renowned anthropological collections in an impressive architectural structure perched on a cliff top overlooking the ocean.

Hidden within the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver is the Museum of Anthropology, an architectural gem housing one of the world's most extensive collections of anthropological items. Intricately carved totem poles, figures, ceramics and other one-of-a-kind artefacts allow you to delve deep into fascinating cultures from around the world.

With over 500,000 artefacts in its collection, you’ll find objects from Africa, Indonesia, Oceania, China and India, along with fascinating exhibits commemorating the diverse cultural history of British Columbia. Understand a little more about the First Nations and other indigenous people of Canada through the vast collections of art and artefacts. The carefully curated exhibitions includes ritual masks, elaborately decorated canoes, beautifully carved figures, and jewellery.

Venture outdoors to see two reconstructed Haida houses and ten full-scale totem poles. An indigenous nation of the Pacific Northwest Coast, the Haida built the traditional buildings which became the epicentre of Haida social, economic, and political life.

One of the must-sees is Haida artist Bill Reid's magnificent masterpiece, The Raven and the First Men, a yellow cedar sculpture so prominent, it is featured on the Canadian 20 dollar note. Take advantage of the free gallery walks given by knowledgeable volunteers for some insight into the exhibitions.

From its modest roots in the basement of the main library where the University of British Columbia first stored its collection of ethnographic artefacts in 1947, the museum has grown both in stature and structure. Designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, the museum includes exhibition galleries, storage facilities, a resource library, and teaching laboratory. The grandiose glass panels seamlessly merge the great outdoors with the interior space, allowing many of the exhibits to bathe in natural light.

Stop by the café for a quick bite, and walk through the massive Gitxsan artist-carved doors into the museum shop to peruse the selection of original Northwest coast jewellery, masks, carvings, baskets and other crafts.

The Museum of Anthropology is a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, and parking is available. It’s also accessible by public transport.


Guide to Exploring around Museum of Anthropology


Lodging Near Museum of Anthropology

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Pacific Spirit Hostel

Pacific Spirit Hostel

1935 Lower Mall, Vancouver, BC
    2.0 out of 5.0
     
     

    Situated in Vancouver, this hostel is within a 10-minute walk of Nitobe Memorial Garden, University of British Columbia and Museum of Anthropology. Wreck Beach ...

    Gage Residence at UBC

    Gage Residence at UBC

    5959 Student Union Blvd, Vancouver, BC
      3.0 out of 5.0
       
       

      Situated in Vancouver, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of University of British Columbia and Museum of Anthropology. Jericho Beach is 3 mi (4.9 km) ...

      Gage Residence at UBCAU$199

      Ponderosa Studios at UBC

      Ponderosa Studios at UBC

      2075 West Mall, Vancouver, BC
        3.0 out of 5.0
         
         

        Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nitobe Memorial Garden and University of British Columbia. Museum of Anthropology is 0.5 mi ...

        West Coast Suites at UBC

        West Coast Suites at UBC

        5961 Student Union Blvd, Vancouver, BC
          3.5 out of 5.0
           
           

          Situated in Vancouver, this golf hotel is within a 15-minute walk of University of British Columbia and Museum of Anthropology. Jericho Beach is 3 mi (4.8 km) ...

          Comfortable 2bdr 2 BR Condo in UBC

          Comfortable 2bdr 2 BR Condo in UBC

          Wesbrook Mall 2280, Vancouver, BC
            3.5 out of 5.0
             
             

            Situated in Vancouver, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and University of British Columbia. Museum ...

            Comfortable 2bdr 2BR Condo in UBC

            Comfortable 2bdr 2BR Condo in UBC

            2280 Wesbrook Mall, 417, Vancouver, BC
              3.5 out of 5.0
               
               

              Situated in Vancouver, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, University of British Columbia, and Museum of ...

              Luxury two bedroom apartment at UBC

              Luxury two bedroom apartment at UBC

              303-5928 Birney Ave, Vancouver, BC
                4.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Situated in Vancouver, this apartment building is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and within 3 miles (5 km) of University of British ...

                West Point Grey Guest House UBC

                West Point Grey Guest House UBC

                4530 W 11th Ave, Vancouver, BC
                  2.5 out of 5.0
                   
                   

                  Located in West Point Grey, this guesthouse is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Burrard Inlet and within 3 miles (5 km) of University of British Columbia and Jericho Beach. ...

                  West Point Grey Guest House UBCAU$89

                  *Price based on the lowest price found within past 24 hours and based upon one night stay for two adults over the next thirty days. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.