Well before explorers and settlers arrived in the region from Europe and beyond, the First Nations people of the Northwest Coast had developed a sophisticated and complex culture of wood carving, painting, song, and dance. The MOA features some stunning examples in a lovely setting.
On a brilliant late summer weekend, we bicycle from the West End over the Burrard Street Bridge and through lovely, leafy residential neighborhoods out to the UBC campus and the MOA.
After parking our bicycles, we wander down the path to the contemporary MOA building, which was designed to reflect traditional northern Northwest Coast post and beam structures. Just past the entrance, large and spectacular wood totem poles, bentwood boxes, cedar canoes, and sculptures are displayed in the Great Hall. I swear I can feel the power of these treasures set beneath the 15-meter-high high ceiling and glass windows.
|Bottom of a Haida totem pole|
Down below the Great Hall, we step inside a treasure trove of museum pieces stuffed inside glass cases and pull-out drawers in a darkened collections room. The quantity and quality of the collection is incredible. To see it all really means many trips here to soak it all in.
|Many masks, many more|
|The Raven and the First Men|
As with many museums I've visited over the years for my art history studies and beyond, I can only take in so much before I get sensory overload. After a couple hours we head to the museum cafe for a cold drink and snack (banana break baked on campus) on the outdoor patio before departing.
I love this place! It's on my intinerary for future trips to Vancouver. How about you?
Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons.
When You Go
While the MOA is known for its Northwest Coast art collection, it's also world-renowned for its research, teaching, public programs, and community connections. If you're in the Vancouver area or visit often, check out their ongoing public programs. The MOA is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and stays open until 9 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. Suggested donation per adult was about $16 when we visited last weekend. Check out their website for information on getting there via bus, auto, walking, or bicycle.