If you wish to visit the Museum of Anthropology, you will need to catch a bus or drive to the University of British Columbia. We caught the #44 bus which goes direct from downtown Vancouver to the UBC bus depot.
Once you arrive at the bus depot, you then need to walk for about 15 minutes thorough the beautiful campus to MOA. This isn’t particularly well sign posted but there are maps frequently along the route so you can check if you are still going in the right direction.
Once you arrive at MOA, you enter the main building where you pay your entrance fee – $CAD16.75 for adults, slightly cheaper for seniors and there is a child rate. There are lockers where you can leave your bags – these cost $0.25 so make sure you have a quarter with you.
The first gallery you come to is the Totem and First Nations gallery. This is a lovely open space with massive glass windows and the totems are displayed in a very pleasing manner with a view of the outside gallery available through the windows.
There is a smaller gallery next with an exhibit called “Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth” with works from a number of nations, not just Canada but including the USA and New Zealand among others.
In this area were works in many mediums, including textiles (such as the dresses shown in the photo to the right), various paintings and prints along with video and multimedia type works.
I found this to be a very powerful exhibit, especially regarding the works pertaining to indigenous female stereotyping.
There was a gallery of Afro-Cuban art – we didn’t spend any time in this area other than a very quick walk through (just not our cup of tea).
The most fascinating gallery IMO though was the Multiversity Gallery. This is simply a huge area with practically everything that would normally be in storage – displayed in large cabinets and drawers for you to explore. There is also a number of short videos in this area so if you need a short break and sit down, this is a good spot to do so.
If you are a looking for a specific object or country you can easily look it up on the computers through the Multiversity Gallery – this database is also available to browse online. It will then tell you exactly how to find the item you are looking for – if it’s on display.
The final areas within the building are the very reasonably (perhaps surprisingly) priced cafe and the gift shop which had a great selection of items made by Canadian artists as well as some international items.
Outside is a selection of Totems and Haida buildings. This is a very pretty area and worth a few minutes to explore.
Getting back to downtown is easy, just walk back to the UBC bus depot and catch the same bus back again.
If you are only visiting one museum while you are in Vancouver, I’d say visit this one. The Totem Gallery is worth it alone and I personally found the Multiversity Gallery to be fascinating – its somewhere you could visit repeatedly and see something new every time as there is so much to explore.