Visit MOA! New safety measures + timed-entry tickets in effect. (Updated January 4, 2021) Plan your visit →

UBC Home

The Collections


Curatorial, Interpretation + Design

Library + Archives

Research + Collections Stories See all

Research + Collections Stories

New Installations + Displays

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 2.17.13 PM

“Don’t give it up! The Lives and Stories of the Mabel Stanley Collection”

In 2011, the family of the late Mabel Stanley (1901 – 1979) donated her personal collection of ceremonial regalia and other First Nations items to MOA, with the understanding that the 24 objects would still be accessible to the family and that the Museum would create an exhibition about them. In 2014, students in UBC’s Museum Practice and Curatorship course (Anthropology 431/518) took up the challenge. Mabel Stanley was an extraordinary woman who was born into Kwakwaka’wakw nobility at Cape Mudge, attended Coqualeetza Indian Residential School in Sardis, lost her Indian status through marriage, raised nine children, and became recognized and honoured for her contributions as an advocate for Aboriginal and women’s rights.

Image credit: Photo by the University Extension Department. UBC 1.1/16005-5.


Contemporary Art from Afghanistan: Graffiti Works by Shamsia Hassani

Works by Shamsia Hassani, originally featured in the Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia exhibition (2017) are now on display in Case 108 in the Multiversity Galleries.

Shamsia Hassani شمسیا حسنی (b. Iran, 1988) is regarded as the first female graffiti artist from Afghanistan. Through her art, she aims to colour over the sad memories of wars and to bring positive changes to society. Her work often depicts women in burqas, and fish. When she cannot work on the street, she creates a “dreaming graffiti” by painting on photographic images of her city. What about the Dead Fish? (2011) and Words (2012) were originally painted on building walls in Kabul, Afghanistan while Dreaming Graffiti (2012) is from her “dreaming graffiti series”. Learn more about the artist on her Facebook page.

Image Credit: [MOA collection 3280/3] Words by Shamsia Hassani


Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy From Asia

Asia has an enormous diversity of languages and writing systems. Writing, especially calligraphy, has been a revered art form and has played an important social and political role in Asian traditions ranging from religious texts in Sanskrit to Islamic and Chinese calligraphy. The Asian collection at MOA contains over 18,000 items, about 40 percent of the total holdings, and is the largest collection at the Museum. There is a little known collection of Chinese, Japanese, and Persian calligraphy, as well as various manuscripts such as Southeast Asian palm leaf manuscripts, woodblocks for printing and objects with inscriptions. The items featured in Case 76 in the Multiversity Galleries are the highlights of this collection of approximately 250 items.

Image credit: Shinpan neko no tenarai (New impression: Cats take calligraphy lessons),  MOA Collection: N2.1181

MOA 70_Rapid Response Case_ WEB

Rapid Response Case

How should museums respond to current events or issues in the world? This small display case in the lobby presents pressing issues of the moment by making connections to what we do at MOA, and promotes constructive social activism that aims to create positive change.

On display now: MOA 70th Anniversary

The Museum of Anthropology at UBC opened to the public in 1949. MOA is now Canada’s largest university museum, and its worldwide collection includes about 50,000 works. MOA places a priority on ensuring that access to collections is provided for originating community members, researchers and members of the public. Our exhibitions and programs emphasize the importance of artistic and cultural diversity and the links between art, community and their contemporary social and political contexts. On our 70th anniversary, we reflect on the role of museums as the need for tolerance of diversity becomes ever more critical.


MOA is committed to promoting awareness and understanding of culturally diverse ways of knowing the world through challenging and innovative programs and partnerships with Indigenous, local and global communities.

See past Rapid Response Cases


Contemporary Korean Art: Wire Sculptures By Key-Sook Geum

Newly acquired works, Blue JangOt (2015) and Dream in Green JoGoRe (2013) by Key-Sook Guem are now on display in Case 73 in Multiversity Galleries. Key-Sook Geum (금기숙) is an artist, fashion designer, and scholar from the Republic of Korea. Having taught and worked in fashion design, Geum combines art with fashion in her exquisite wire sculptures in the shape of women’s clothing.

Guem is inspired by the shapes and styles of clothing from Korea’s Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). They tell stories about the people who wore them: their lives, aesthetics, and philosophies. Blue JangOt (2015) represents the jangot, a veil in the shape of an overcoat worn by noble women during the Joseon Dynasty. Dream in Green JoGoRe (2013) is in the shape of the jeogori, a traditional shirt worn over the chima, a long, sleeveless dress.

Image credit:  [MOA collection 3284/2]. Dream in Green JoGoRe. Made by Key-Sook Geum.