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“First Nation musuem at Alert Bay” 5 of 5 stars
Review of U'mista Cultural Centre

U'mista Cultural Centre
Front Street | PO Box 253, Alert Bay, British Columbia VON 1A0, Canada
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Ranked #2 of 7 Attractions in Alert Bay
Type: Historic Sites, History Museums, Cultural
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Attraction details
Owner description: U'mista Cultural Centre is one of the longest-operating and most successful First Nations cultural facilities in BC, founded in 1980 as a ground breaking project to house potlatch artifacts which had been seized by government during an earlier period of cultural repression. The return of the potlatch artifacts not only provided U'mista's name ('the return of something important'), and sparked a general trend toward repatriation of First Nations and cultural artifacts, it caused the creation of a physical facility and human resources infrastructure which have been successfully operated for over two decades.U'mista now operates a modern museum and cultural education facility in Alert Bay. Their operations include the museum, an extensive art gallery and gift shop, group tours, and presentations by dance troupes. The facility hosts international scholars, and supports researchers in a range of disciplines.
Davis, California
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“First Nation musuem at Alert Bay”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2013

Well designed, thoughtful, sensitive portrayal of the First Nation peoples of northern British Columbia. We enjoyed our visit which including art, totem poles, sculpture and film. Gift shop offered art work such as masks and carved items as well as more traditional "chotchkes". We also hiked through the adjacent forest and saw eagles' nests and some pre-carved cedar poles in a clearing. Wonderful experience.

Visited July 2013
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45 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Parksville, Canada
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“A very worthwhile place to visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

I had no idea what a "Potlatch" really is or what happens at one, or even how long one lasts. Well the guides at this museum really know their stuff, and what's more are excited to pass along their extensive knowledge. This whole area is very interesting, and I can say that I would have liked to have spent a little more time here, a couple of hours just isn't enough.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Highlight of a trip to Alert Bay”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

U'mista Centre is a highlight of any trip to Alert Bay. Walk the boardwalk from the ferry and look at the splendid carvings on the roof over each look-out en route to the cultural centre. If you have the time and energy, find your way to the Eco-centre park and walk along another board walk over the bog. Look out for the active eagles nest and the giant trees on the "Big Tree" trail . All paths are well marked. Entrance is just near the west end of the airstrip. Good camping with showers and hookups.

Visited April 2013
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Derbyshire, UK
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Beautiful potlatch collection”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

A very worthwhile visit on our recent stay in Alert Bay. It's a very small settlement and there aren't a lot of activities - but of course that's why people go. We loved the peaceful, unique atmosphere. We really enjoyed viewing the collection of masks and other objects used during First Nations potlatch ceremonies and it was very interesting learning about the history of it all too. Highly recommended.

Visited October 2012
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Alert Bay, British Columbia, Canada
1 review
“Teaches all cultures”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

Helped me through some tough times knowing what my family went through to survive & enabled me to garner strength for myself & my family through very difficult times. I miss the U'Mista! So much knowledge to share,e ven for our very own, as history is so important to our ppl <3 Teaching other cultures is a bonus from my perspective & so important for our own ppl!

Visited February 2012
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