The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) will receive seismic upgrades to its Great Hall to improve its structural integrity and help preserve the invaluable cultural significance and living heritage of its world-renowned Indigenous Northwest Coast collection. The project will also upgrade the Great Hall skylights, lighting, roofing, window coverings and sprinkler system.
MOA has important heritage value for UBC. The renewal team has approached the project sensitively following conservation principles that address both the heritage values and character-defining elements of the site and the building. Feedback from the Arthur Erickson Foundation has informed the architectural and construction approach to the project, ensuring the Great Hall will retain the appearance of the original space to preserve its architectural character and heritage values. Engagement with the Musqueam is informing the approach to site and landscape.
The design solution for the Great Hall seismic upgrade involves the use of base isolators under the suspended main floor slab to absorb the impact of seismic activity, separating the building from the ground and from the adjoining museum structures.
All of the massive wooden carvings that reside in the Great Hall were lowered and relocated elsewhere in the museum ahead of the construction. MOA is liaising with Indigenous communities and families whose cultural objects are being moved from the Great Hall. They will continue to provide input into protocols around moving and re-installing these works into the Great Hall post-construction. The safety and protection of these irreplaceable Indigenous objects is of the highest priority to MOA’s team, who will ensure they are well cared for before and during construction.
While the Great Hall has been closed since the start of construction, the rest of the Museum has remained open to the public. Visitors can still enjoy the other exhibition spaces, including the Koerner European Ceramics Gallery, the Multiversity Galleries with more than 9,000 objects from around the world, the Elspeth McConnell Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks and the Audain Gallery that houses popular feature exhibitions. Much of the popular outdoor exhibits, including the Haida Houses and outdoor poles, are also accessible to the public.
Campus & Community Planning: Planning and development permit
Museum of Anthropology: Great Hall Seismic Upgrades + Renewal [December 29, 2020]
Museum of Anthropology: The Great Hall Renewal Project – Building for a New Era [on-going]
In the media
Vancouver Sun: One of B.C.’s iconic structures to be rebuilt
The Georgia Straight: UBC to rebuild Museum of Anthropology’s Great Hall for seismic upgrades