Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Museum of Anthropology at UBC

The Museum of Anthropology began as a collection of ethnographic objects in the basement of the Main Library at the University of British Columbia in 1949. Funds from the Federal Government and others enabled the magnificent building you see here to be constructed and opened in 1976.

Designed by the renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erikson who used traditional Northwest Coast post-and-beam style architecture for the design, the building with its soaring glass glass walls and concrete beams sits on the cliffs of Point Grey facing the sea and the mountains. The original plan called for a reflecting pool in the surrounding area but the weight of the water would have contributed even more to the instability of the cliffs which are slowly being eroded away. Instead an area of gravel was installed with the shape of water.

The grounds were designed by landscaper Cornelia Oberlander and besides the gravel "pool" and the indigenous plants and grasses there are two outdoor Haida houses and ten full-scale totem poles (one inside the larger of the two Haida houses).

These two carved house-posts below are found on the path which leads to the front of the museum facing the sea and are relatively recent in a more contemporary style of carving.

Today the museum houses over 35,000 ethnographic objects, many of which come from the Pacific Northwest Coast of British Columbia although the collection also contains objects from around the world. Many of these are housed in what is known as the Visible Storage galleries where you can open drawers and browse to your hearts content or look in showcases just packed with items.

Next time join me inside the museum and also I'll be featuring the magnificent hand carved doors for my Photo Hunt this weekend when the theme is wooden.


Liz said...

What a fabulous building! And you can browse through drawers? Gosh, that must be amazing. I'll look forward to the next instalment and, especially, the carved doors.

Eurodog said...

Now that's an interesting piece of architecture.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I wish I could be there. I have a strong liking and affinity for the cultural history and art of the Pacific Northwest tribes. Thanks for sharing.

Carver said...

That's a beautiful building. Also, I have always liked totem poles and the ones you photographed are great. The carved house posts are very appealing to me too. I'll look forward to seeing the inside of the museum and also seeing the carved doors for the PH wooden theme.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Very avant garde.

I wish we had more buildings like that, but we don't.

It does sem to be getting better though.

jams o donnell said...

It is an interesting piece of architecture. Im looking forward to your photo hunt entry. I've no idea what to do thjis week (cats and flowers just don't fit the bill!)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. It looks a very interesting building indeed and I love the totem poles. Looking forward to further information about it. Auguri from Sicily.

jmb said...

Hi Liz,
It is a great building, both inside and out.

Hi Eurodog,
Arthur Erikson had a very unique style and there are many of his buildings here and around the world.

I hope you will like the inside items as well. The culture and the art are very interesting here.

Hi Carver,
It was a slightly foggy day when I took these photos so you can't see the totem poles as well as I would have liked.

Hi Crushed,
Well we have lots of modern buildings here but we have none with much history attached the way you have there.

Hi Jams,
It is an interesting building which is why I thought it worth a post. Good luck with the search for wooden.

A very nice building in a nice surrounding area and the view is amazing.
Thanks to all for visiting and commenting.

Janice Thomson said...

Oooh I look forward to a tour inside with you JMB.