MOA is temporarily closed until late 2023 for seismic upgrades Learn more →

UBC Home

The Collections


Curatorial + Design

Library + Archives

Collections + Research Stories See all

Collections + Research Stories

Past Rapid Response Cases

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.

Trashed Oceans

June 10, 2019 – October 10, 2019

Oceans play a vital role in sustaining life on our planet. Yet around 8 million tons of plastics enter our oceans each year. Many marine animals and seabirds get entangled in this ocean trash, and many more are ingesting plastics. What can we do about ocean pollution? We can start by reducing single-use plastics and committing to better recycling.

Find out more about the human impacts of this issue in MOA’s Multiversity Galleries. Look for giant “Ghost Net” sculptures made from discarded nets by Erub Islanders in the South Pacific.

Cultural Heritage on Fire

February 19, 2019 – June 10, 2019

Last September, the 200-year-old National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was destroyed by fire. The former Imperial Palace and its collection of over 20 million items—including archival materials and 42,000 ethnographic objects—were turned to ash.

Cultural memory is continuously under threat, whether from natural or human-caused disasters. How can we understand our past and face the future when cultural heritage is destroyed and irreplaceable cultural memory lost?

The Past and Future of Cannabis

October 17, 2018 – February 19, 2019

Cannabis for recreational use was made legal in Canada on October 17, 2018.

Originally from Asia, cannabis—also known as marijuana, weed, and pot—has been used around the world for centuries, consumed for medicinal and recreational purposes. It has been regarded as sacred by some cultures and used in religious, shamanic, or spiritual contexts.

While cannabis affects people’s health differently, many Canadians now feel that it is better to legalize it to help keep it out of the hands of youth and criminals. What impacts will its legalization have on Canadian society and beyond?

Where There’s Smoke: Wildfires and Climate Change

August 7, 2018 – October 17, 2018

With climate change, our summers are becoming hotter. Wildfires are expected to grow in frequency and intensity, putting forests, homes and communities at increasing risk. The summer of 2017 was one of the worst wildfire seasons in British Columbia’s history. The summer of 2018 could be even more extreme.

Meeting reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions now appears critical. Indigenous people argue that their traditional knowledge about forest management has to be part of the conversation. How can this challenge be addressed, locally and globally? Whose voices should be at the table?

#MeToo: A Hat and Hashtag

April 30, 2018 – August 7, 2018

The Pussyhat first appeared in January 2017 at the inaugural Women’s March in Washington, DC. Created as a visual statement about gender inequality, it has become a powerful symbol of social and political activism.

The #MeToo movement challenges sexual assault and harassment in and outside the workplace. In October 2017, #MeToo went viral on social media. Users revealed the global magnitude of the problem by sharing their experiences and stories.

Oil Spills: The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion from Alberta to British Columbia

September 27, 2017 – April 30, 2018

Given that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion from Alberta to British Columbia is an ongoing, serious concern for many of us, we decided to focus on the issues of oil spills for the inaugural display. We encouraged visitors to find out about Indigenous peoples’ response by visiting the following on display: The One Mind, One Heart display in Multiversity Galleries (Case 23) and the Amazonia: The Rights of Nature exhibition in O’Brian Gallery (March 10, 2017–January 28, 2018).