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Collections + Research Stories

Indigenous Access + Engagement

The Museum of Anthropology places a high priority on ensuring that access to collections is provided for originating community members, researchers and members of the public. MOA supports the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by committing to developing close working relationships with Indigenous peoples, groups and organizations that have a claim to, or interest in, the material in its care.

Admission to MOA

MOA offers free admission to all Indigenous peoples.

Access to the collections

The collections housed at MOA contain items that are important to originating communities, and their placement and care within the Museum continue to affect the values and beliefs of those communities. The Museum recognizes that these objects may have a non-material side embodying cultural rights, values, knowledge, and ideas that are not owned or possessed by the Museum, but are retained by the originating communities.

There are several ways to access the collections:

  • In-person:

MOA provides access and research opportunities to community members, academics and other members of the public who have interest in MOA’s collections. Physical access to objects can be provided in one of the Museum’s purpose-built research rooms.

The Borrowing Conditions for Originating Communities outline borrowing conditions and loans procedures and provides potential borrowers with information on current practices at MOA to enable them to plan for loans more effectively.

The Indigenous Collections Access Grant offers funding to help cover the costs of bringing collections to communities or for Indigenous individuals (up to $500) or community groups (up to $3,000) to travel to MOA to visit with and study the collections and archives. Applications are accepted year-round on a rolling basis. (It is not necessary to receive a Collection Access Grant in order to schedule an in-person visit with MOA’s collection.)

This online system contains images and any available information on the objects in MOA’s collections.

The RRN is an online research portal that provides access to museum and other public collections around the world, with a focus on First Nations items from the Northwest Coast and British Columbia. It facilitates access for First Nations community-based researchers who might otherwise be unable to travel to see these works in person. It was co-developed by the Musqueam Indian Band, the Stó:lō Nation/Tribal Council, the U’mista Cultural Society, MOA and LOA. Collections from 27 institutions can now be accessed through the RRN.

  • Outgoing loans:

Loans help to facilitate both physical and intellectual access to the collections. The collections at MOA contain items that are important to originating communities, and whose placement and care within the Museum must respect the values and beliefs of those communities. MOA recognizes that these objects may have a non-material side embodying cultural rights, values, knowledge and ideas that are not owned or possessed by MOA but are retained by the originating communities. Outgoing loan requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and are dependent on MOA staff time and availability.


This UBC initiative provides resources and community grants that support the preservation of Indigenous cultural heritage. MOA’s Oral History and Language Lab and Library and Archives participate by providing training in the preservation of digital assets and the conversion of audio materials on cassette to digital preservation formats. Indigitization also seeks to promote enhanced and appropriate access to those recordings for communities and, where possible, the broader public. For more information please contact Gerry Lawson at gerry.lawson@ubc.ca

Native Youth Program

The Native Youth Program (NYP) provides summer employment and training for urban Indigenous youth. The museum hires six high-school students (ages 15 to 18) and one university student as the program manager. The goal is to produce Indigenous youth leaders, provide meaningful direction and mentoring, enhance employment opportunities for youth, and promote public understanding of the diversity and richness of Indigenous cultures within the UBC community. Participants benefit from a well-supported opportunity to explore their culture and identity among peers, and develop important knowledge, skills and confidence for future creative and academic endeavours.

Indigenous Internship Program

Designed for Indigenous community members with a demonstrated interest in cultural heritage management, the Indigenous Internship Program is a new internship opportunity at MOA in the areas of: Collections Management, Conservation, Library and Archives, Oral History Language Laboratory, and Curatorial. There will be two annual calls for applicants: spring and fall. Placements are equivalent to 10 weeks, 35 hours per week but may be adjusted to part-time, over a longer duration in order to meet family or community needs.