British Columbia Museums and Galleries
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby St., Downtown
Over 11,000 works representing a century of art produced in British Columbia and the Asia-Pacific region—with a heavy focus on the creative contributions of the First Nations—fill the Vancouver Art Gallery. The program schedule keeps it interesting, with exhibits on everything from Scandinavian design to portraiture. A recent favorite is Hyderabadi artist Asim Waqif's "Salvage" show, a visual commentary on the waste generated by the excesses of modern living. Waqif built a completely immersive architectural experience using waste products salvaged from shipyards, landfills, and demolition sites in the city. Guests are encouraged to make their way through the structures and contemplate what we should really determine as waste, and the social responsibility we all share in moving towards sustainability.
Museum of Vancouver
1100 Chestnut St., Kitsilano
The founding mission of the Museum of Vancouver has major civic undertones: The facility seeks to encourage inter-community understanding via an incredible archive of photographs that document the century of public activism that has shaped the city’s identity. The permanent collection comprises ethnographic, archaeological, and natural history objects. A real bonus is the kid's program: the museum regularly schedules day trips to archaeological digs, organizes hands-on experiences with ancient artifacts, and hosts scavenger hunts through the galleries for the whole family on weekends.
Museum of Anthropology
6393 N.W. Marine Dr., University Hill
The Arthur Erickson-designed Museum of Anthropology is structurally spectacular—built in 1976, mostly in concrete—the exterior echoes the jagged West Coast mountains, while the interior mimics a First Nations Longhouse. Erickson sought to respectfully capture and honor the evolving Canadian identity through the building, which looks out onto the sea. Crafting enthusiasts will love exhibits focused on blankets woven by the Salish people in the 1800's, Amazonian textiles and ceramics, as well as a permanent collection of ethnographic objects from First Nation communities. The museum’s mission is to promote discourse around the relationship between Vancouver and the people who settled there, while also highlighting communities and ways of life under threat.