Friday, March 16, 2012

Royal BC Museum in Victoria

Today Deborah took us on a field trip to Victoria, where we spent most of our time in the Royal BC Museum. First, we started with the Natural History Gallery, where we found exhibitions of fauna and flora found in British Columbia in the past and today. The most striking was the Woolly Mammoth (and the spooky primeval sounds it made ;) ) and a large scale close up of a square inch of soil, or, more precisely, its disgusting inhabitants. :P

The Woolly Mammoth. :)
One floor up we found the First Peoples Gallery, with totem poles, a Kwakwaka’wakw Big House, Haida Argillite Carvings and a large variety of Aboriginal masks. What’s most thought-provoking is that while most of the Totem Poles were taken out of derelict villages, some of the masks were acquired by questionable means, and now the museum is refusing to give them back to the families they were taken from. This is part of a larger problem that the First Nations of British Columbia face nowadays: in the 1900s to 1920s large quantities of Indigenous regalia and family heirlooms were taken and sold to museums and private collectors, and now it’s virtually impossible to get them back, even though most of them were obtained more or less illegally.

Some of the Exhibits at the Royal BC Museum.

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