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Shake Up

Preserving What We Value

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Shake Up

Preserving What We Value

Look Closer

Shake Up

Preserving What We Value


December 2, 2018 – Spring 2020

Earthquakes have long been a part of the reality of living along the Northwest Coast. At MOA, preparation for this reality is a priority of monumental proportions and why the Museum’s iconic Great Hall is slated to undergo major seismic upgrades—to help preserve the building, the collections and cultural heritage.

In conjunction with this immense undertaking, MOA’s exhibition, Shake Up: Preserving What We Value, explores the convergence of earthquake science and technology with the rich Indigenous knowledge and oral history of the living cultures represented in MOA’s Northwest Coast collection. Beyond scientific discoveries, Shake Up also puts into the foreground traditional knowledge of earthquakes and natural disasters that has been passed down through generations throughout many cultures.

Through multimedia installations, contemporary First Nations art and cultural objects, Shake Up explores the connection between cultural knowledge and natural seismic events. Bringing together the perspectives of cultures, arts and sciences, this exhibition reflects on what we value and how we preserve it.

The exhibition will be displayed in areas throughout the Museum, and visitors will have the opportunity to see the majestic poles of the Great Hall resting in temporary storage in the adjacent O’Brian Gallery.

You can explore the Great Hall online in its original state in this 360 virtual tour.
(Best experienced on a laptop or desktop computer, in full-screen view. Use your mouse to align the swirl-cursor with the target circles for a closer look and to read more about the massive carvings.)

Explore Shake Up virtually through this webpage.


Shake Up: Preserving What We Value is the first of two exhibitions at MOA to explore the theme of natural disasters and their implications. A Future for Memory: In the Aftermath of the 3/11 Disaster, curated by MOA’s Curator of Asia, Fuyubi Nakamura, is slated to open in early 2021. Based on research from the past seven years, its focus will be on changing physical and psychological landscapes in the aftermath of 2011 earthquake in Japan, and consider its local and global resonances.

Curators: Dr. Jennifer Kramer, Curator, Pacific Northwest Coast and Dr. Jill Baird, Curator, Education.

Photo credits (L-R): 1. John Davis (‘Nakwaxda’xw), Earthquake mask, before 1939. MOA Collection: A6357. Photo by Jessica Bushey. 2. MOA Exterior, Photo courtesay of UBC 3. Eagle-Halibut pole by Oyai (Nisga’a), made circa 1860, being inspected in summer 2018 by MOA Conservation staff in preparation for Great Hall seismic upgrades. MOA Collection: A50020. Photo by Kiel Torres; 4. Joe David (Nuu-chah-nulth)’s Cedar Man welcome figure, made in 1984, being moved into the Great Hall in February 2012. Photo by Gerry Lawson; 5–6. House frontal pole by Bill Reid (Haida), made in 1961-1962, being moved into the Great Hall in 2008. MOA Collection: A50030. Photo by Heidi Swierenga.