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Research & Collections 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

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.
  • Collections Online (MOA-CAT): This online system contains images and any available information on the objects in MOA’s collections.
  • Reciprocal Research Network (RRN): 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) is a summer program for urban Indigenous youth (ages 15 to 18) currently enrolled in secondary school. It provides summer employment and training to six high-school students and two UBC students as program manager and research assistant. The goal is to produce young Indigenous 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.