Great Poles Resting

As the Museum of Anthropology prepares for major seismic upgrading, they must take extra care to ensure that their precious holdings are safe. To that end, some of the incredible house poles from the Great Hall have been carefully lowered and brought to rest in the O’Brien Gallery.

While in the O’Brien, these poles will undergo careful conservation based on insights from Community elders and knowledge holders on ‘how both the tangible and intangible aspects of these treasures can and should be cared for in culturally appropriate ways.’

You’ll see one of these striking poles above, a 1906 Red Cedar creation from Klix’ken Gukwdzi: Sea-Lion House, owned by Tza’kyius. This was one of a number of carved figures and posts originally located in the Quatsino Sound on northern Vancouver Island.

MOA has extended the Shake Up theme throughout the museum, gathering Indigenous knowledge around earthquakes and their effects on communities, architecture and artwork.

Memorial Pole of Skim-skim and Will-a-daugh
Carved by Haesemhliyawn
Gitanyow (Kitwancool, BC)
Red Cedar, c. 1890

These great poles are scheduled to go back to their place of pride in the Great Hall in Spring 2020.


Tracy Fillion


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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton