My last museum stop on Canada Day was at the Canadian Museum of Nature, over on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River. The marvelous architecture by Douglas Cardinal is always a pleasure to see. This view, with the gap between the curatorial wing to the left and the exhibit wing at right, gives a view of Parliament across the river.
As I approached I could hear music being played. It was this large wagon cart parked in place, mounted with multiple drums and other instruments for other people to come up to and play.
The Snowbirds happened to fly overhead as I proceeded on. I caught them in formation.
Here we have a view looking down the stairs. The riverside park area would have been ideal for watching the fireworks that evening; the only reason I've never watched them from here is that the nearby Alexandra Bridge is completely shut down during that evening until midnight, and that's the best route home.
I went into the museum, first taking in one of the temporary exhibits, Death In The Ice, about the Franklin Expedition, which you might recall I showed you back in May. The other major temporary exhibit on life in medieval Europe had a line up, but it's on until January, so I'll see that sooner or later.
The Grand Hall as it is called was busy when I came down into it. This fellow was on stilts, posing for photos with anyone who wanted it, playing the part of Optimus Prime of the Transformers franchise (otherwise known as Michael Bay's excuse to blow stuff up). The Grand Hall itself is the architectural masterpiece of the museum, housing totem poles and facades of six Pacific Coast tribes, with exhibit spaces behind those facades.
At the south end of the Grand Hall, looking up at the dome overhead gives you my favourite work of art in the National Capital Region. Morning Star is the massive 1993 abstract mural by the Dene Suline artist Alex Janvier, incorporating ideas of his First Nations background.
Janvier's mural uses motifs such as the circle of life- spiritual and physical, natural and human, the seasons, regalia colours of various tribes, and the notion of the morning star as a guide. It is astonishing to behold from down at ground level or closer. This second shot incorporates two women on the top platform, reinforcing how big the mural is.
Another work of art by another First Nations artist is here. Spirit Of Haida Gwaii is a plaster cast version of Bill Reid's sculpture, the original done in order to create a bronze version that resides at the Canadian embassy in Washington. It depicts a Haida canoe with a mix of people and sacred animals as paddlers and passengers.
The totems and facades dominate this space, and always fascinate me when I visit here.
I headed upstairs to take in the permanent galleries, pausing for an up close view of Morning Star.