What are the best museums in Vancouver?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Carolyn B. Heller

Here are my picks for Vancouver’s most worthwhile museums:

Museum of Anthropology
Designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, this striking contemporary museum on the University of British Columbia campus offers an excellent introduction to Western Canada’s aboriginal culture. Highlights include the glass-walled Great Hall, filled with massive totem poles from several First Nations, and the Rotunda, which showcases notable Haida artist Bill Reid's sculpture, The Raven and the First Men.

Vancouver Art Gallery
In a 1906 former courthouse building downtown, the Vancouver Art Gallery has a permanent collection of more than 10,000 artworks, with an emphasis on British Columbia artists. The gallery also mounts frequently changing exhibits of both classic and contemporary art.

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
Reid (1920-1998) was a British Columbia artist of mixed European and First Nations heritage. He’s best known for his sculptures, carvings, and jewelry that explore the Haida traditions. This downtown gallery opened in 2008 to showcase Reid’s work.

Science World
If you’ve got kids, they can play (and learn) for hours in this hands-on science museum. And if you’re traveling child-free, look for the periodic “Science World After Dark” evenings when adults are free to explore the museum without the little ones in tow.

Museum of Vancouver
Small but edgy, this Vanier Park museum examines both historical and contemporary life in the city of Vancouver. Recent exhibits have included a retrospective of works by the eclectic Vancouver-born artist Tobias Wong and “Sex Talk in the City,” an exploration of sex and sexual mores in Vancouver. Check their calendar for talks, parties, and other cool events that accompany each exhibition.

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