Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Sculpture And Totems In The Grand Hall

The Museum of History has roots that date back into the mid-19th century and the Geological Survey of Canada. Its present location on the Gatineau shore of the Ottawa River dates back to the late 1980s; the museum was designed by architect Douglas Cardinal. At present the permanent exhibit hall is undergoing extensive remodeling (while scholars are concerned at the level of interference coming from the narrow minded Tory government). That said, the museum still has temporary exhibits and much of the First Nations galleries open. An exhibit on ancient Greece is one such exhibit, and Durham Cathedral in Britain has dispatched its copies of the Magna Carta and Forest Charter for a special exhibit. Though I can't read Latin, the penmanship of both documents is precise.

The Grand Hall in the Museum is filled with totem poles and First Nations art. 

This includes Bill Reid's Spirit Of Haida Gwaii. This is a plaster copy of the sculpture. One in bronze can be found at the Canadian embassy in Washington, while another can be found in Vancouver at the airport. A small detail of one of the figures can be found in an upcoming post from my Doors Open wanderings.


  1. Amazing, long time since I saw a real totem pole

  2. Fabulous! The statue is incredible, as is the First Nation exhibit. Thanks for sharing these.

  3. Sweet memories, so nice to see the inside, I remember the totem poles, great photo's.

  4. Love the sculptures and totems. Especially the fact that they are inside.


  5. So happy to go inside the museum with you William, the totems are stunning and the sculpture such a pleasure to see, merci beaucoup.

  6. I like both, the totems and the sculptures !

  7. I like that white sculpture, but the totem poles are absolutely very impressive. They are much bigger then I expected.

  8. Awesome post. Love the images of totems.

  9. Like the gent in the white shirt, it would make me take a step back to take it all in.

  10. Hey , Douglas Cardinal! Cardinal was born in central alberta and his first major building was the St. Mary's Catholic church here. This began his characteristic curved buildings.

  11. these are great sculptures...i'd enjoy this museum!

  12. @Linda: thanks!

    @Halcyon: so do I.

    @Tomas: it certainly is.

    @Bill: these ones really stand out magnificently.

    @Denise: you're most welcome.

    @Tamera: it really is big.

    @Brocante: thank you!

    @Hilary: indeed!

  13. @Marianne: it's a museum I have always enjoyed visiting.

    @Janis: they're well sheltered this way.

    @Grace: thank you!

    @Karl: so do I.

    @Jan: some are nearly as tall as the room itself.

    @Luis: thank you!

    @Birdman: it's also ideal as a performance space. There were musicians playing as I was going off in another direction. The acoustics are brilliant.

    @Red: Mr. Cardinal recently designed a health center for First Nations women, as I recall, out in the Vanier area here, also incorporating curves.

    @Tanya: it is a museum well worth seeing.

  14. I like much more the totems than the sculpture...

  15. Unfortunately, the feds totally nix it as 'history' when they refuse to actually reconcile the treaties decade after decade. Is there anything there about the residential schools? I haven't been in ages.

  16. Canadian natural history museums are my favorite! Great post.

  17. Wow! That's all most interesting and very beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Love those totem poles, too!

  18. @VP: I find both appeal to me.

    @Jennifer: given the current attitude of our government towards First Nations people, I wouldn't count on much of anything regarding residential schools or consideration. I only hope that there's a big change in the fall elections and that party can be drummed into the political wilderness for forty years.

    @Sharon: me too!

    @Eve: thank you!

    @Lowell: they're always a pleasure to see.

  19. Wow, those totem poles are huge! I think I've seen totem poles somewhere near Vancouver long time ago..but don't remember that they were so tall. Love their curvings very much!

  20. Despite the lure of the Magna Carta, I think I'd stay stuck right there. I love Bill Reid's art so much!

  21. Bill Reid's work is so wonderful! What a talent!

  22. Looks like a wonderful exhibit! A great place to visit!

  23. There are many museums I would love to visit and this os one very close to the top of the list!

  24. I love that totems. Great! Thanks for sharing.

  25. Remind me of the Native American Museum here in Washington, D.C.

  26. so beautiful!
    i would love to see that show!

  27. I love that sculpture, it's a very powerful study..

  28. I'd like to see that copy of the Magna Carta exhibit!

  29. @Tamago: the sculptural form of them has always appealed to me.

    @Norma: me too!

    @Ciel: his work is so visually appealing.

    @RedPat: definitely a great talent!

    @Meradeth: it really is wonderful to visit here.

    @EG: this one's a personal favourite for me.

    @Murcia: you're welcome.

    @Revrunner: I can see that.

    @Tammie: the Greek one I'll enjoy- we didn't go in because of the lineups, but Greece fascinates me.

    @Geoff: it certainly is.

    @Cheryl: it felt humbling to look at these documents. So much of our histories go back to the Magna Carta.

    1. Ah-ha! (Light bulb goes on!) Now I see how to reply to those who comment in one big reply. Good to know! Thank you.

  30. What a fantastic place. Thanks for posting.

  31. You have shown us some of Canada's cultural treasures. I know you shared that big piece "The Spirit..." before. You have educated us!

    ( '>


  32. Wonderful and interesting museum.

  33. One of the first classes I took when I transferred to the University of Washington in 1971 was Bill Holm's Northwest Coast Indian Art. What an insight it gave me to the history and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Totem poles were part of my study and these are lovely.

  34. @Mari: thank you!

    @Tex: very much so.

    @Cloudia: it's a wonderful work of art to share again.

    @Orvokki: it certainly is.

    @Randy: they are!

    @Susan: yes, it's an easy way to answer, takes up less time than one by one. The only problem is coming back to previous days and answering the remaining posts! I've always been drawn to totem poles.

  35. I love the Coastal First Nation's art. We have it out here of course.

  36. Beautiful artwork! I can just imagine how rich the whole collection is if this is just a portion of it. (And how cool to see the Magna Carta!)

  37. The sculptures and totems are huge. Must be an impressive feeling to wander round them.

  38. The totems are magnificent, well worth clicking on the images to see them better.

  39. @MB: Haida art fascinates me.

    @Carolann: thank you!

    @Kay: it is a vast amount. Yes, seeing that copy of the Magna Carta was quite something.

    @Gemma: it is, yes.

    @Jack: that they are.

    @Whisk: definitely!