University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology

Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology is the perfect first stop for visiting families (and a great option during rainy weather, too). Much more comprehensive than we thought it would be, the Museum of Anthropology, or MOA, features not only an impressive main gallery of First Nations totem pole carvings, but also room after room of artifacts of native peoples (both of Western Canada and elsewhere). You come away with greater respect and understanding of the first people to live on this land.

museum of anthropology

MOV focuses on ancient artifacts and cultures, but throughout the exhibits, it’s evident that pains are taken to bridge the displays with the modern-day people whose stories they tell. While a tour through the totem poles is a must see, most fascinating to us was the first-hand accounts written by the ancestors of those first inhabitants, many of whom donated various artifacts to the museum.

The Great Hall is the first thing kids will see, and features totem poles, house posts, and carved figures (most from the mid-19th century) from several Northwest Coast nations. These artifacts become meaningful as kids read about the reasoning behind various carvings, and learn the different uses for totems and the stories told through the carvings.


An outside exhibit includes two Haida houses and several more totems. Visitors can walk around them on their own, but you get twice the meaning out of the experience if you tag along with one of the guided walks, which will take you inside the houses and teach about village life, the different types of totems, and the purposes of the two dwellings. The guided talks are only about 30 minutes, and squirmy kids can always exit.

Date last visited:

July 2012

Distance from the interstate:

15 minutes from BC-99.

Hours of operation:

10 am to 5 pm daily during summer months. Winter hours vary by day.


Adults: $16.75 Kids: $14.50 Age 6 and under: free. The museum does offer a family rate of $44 for a family of two adults and up to four kids.

Dining options:

There’s a museum cafe, but no outside food or drink. It would be possible to eat around the grounds near the parking area.


From downtown Vancouver, the museum is 20 minutes by car. Located on the University of Vancouver campus at 6393 NW Marine Drive, it’s accessible from BC-99 to 4th to Marine. There is a parking charge (only parking is in an adjacent garage), so come prepared. Our charge was $6 for 2 hours.

We experienced the Museum of Anthropology as guests of Tourism Vancouver. While we appreciate this chance to review quality attractions for our readers, it came with no expectation of a positive review.

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