Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay

Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay

Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay
5
Points of Interest & LandmarksEducational sitesHistory Museums
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Through the Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay we celebrate the living culture of the Haida. Through our language, art and stories we share our relationship with the land and sea that which shapes, nourishes and sustains us. Kay Llnagaay protects and fosters Haida culture by reaffirming our traditions and beliefs, encouraging artistic expression, and serving as a keeper of all that we are. Kay Llnagaay is a place for the Haida voice to be heard. The Haida Gwaii Museum opened in 1976 and continues to build an international reputation for showcasing Haida historical and contemporary art, All-Island artists and an outstanding collection of objects, artifacts and scientific material culture. The Museum is committed to encouraging and facilitating creative dialogue and exploring a more holistic and critical view of the multiple and diverse ways of understanding Haida Gwaii — home to one of the most prominent Northwest Coast First Nations cultures (Haida), and rich ecosystems in Canada.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles144 reviews
Excellent
114
Very good
26
Average
3
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1
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0

rufusrastus
El Cerrito, CA15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022
...and I saw this as a museum lover, and former spouse of a museum professional. Especially good on the geology, botany, and anthropology of the archipelago. We extended our trip a day, and rode dodgy bikes from Sandpit to Aliford Bay, and from the ferry landing to the museum just to see this and we Are Not Sorry! One of the highlights of our trip. Leave time to see the outdoor exhibits - the carving shed and the canoe. The Co-Op just up the road is your best lunch option, as there was not a lease holder for the nice catering space at the museum when we were there. Gift shop is well stocked with items of local interest, including work by local artisans.
Written September 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike A
Victoria, Canada9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2015 • Family
I recently went to see the Haida Heritage Center, and found it extremely informative. We went to see it at the beginning of our trip, and it set the stage for much of the rest of our visit as it offered a well rounded base of information. Note: In the off season, I would recommend booking a tour guide as many of the summer tours are suspend.
Written September 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

VancouverCarioca
Vancouver, Canada35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2012 • Family
We have visited Haida Henritage Center three times already. Everytime there are new things that we learned. The facility is quite spacious with good cafeteria and gift shop. The museum is of highest quality in terms of Haida art. I can attest to this since I also collect Haida art. There is always a chance to meet with the artists at the carving shed. Some of them renown, and some of them just beginners. You may bump into the next Bill Reid, or Robert Davidson or Jay Simeon !!!
Written June 12, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Haawa/thank you for your review! We hope you come to visit the Haida Heritage Centre and Haida Gwaii Museumagain to continue learning more with each visit!
Written May 10, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Loretta D
34 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
Went on a WElls Gray Tour and stopped here . Looked wonderful but we were hurried through everything, told we would get a chance later to view, but that didn't happen. Was unable to take pictures so we could read the exhibitions later.
The guides were knowledgeable but again, they were rushed by our tour director.
Written August 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kalamalkared
Surrey, BC40 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Couples
Let me start by confirming what other reviews keep confirming.....this is a beautiful building in a beautiful setting.

If you have never been exposed to Northwest native art or culture this will serve as a great introduction. So if you've decided to rob a bank to visit Haida Gwaii, by all means go to see your tax dollars at work while you're there.

However......if you're a British Columbian who has made the least effort to expose him/herself to First Nations heritage, there is nothing here that should be a revelation to you.

Yes of course there is a very nice collection of totem poles, argillite carvings, traditional masks and historical displays.

But.....they need to do a lot of work to make the museum anything like world-class.

Many of the artifacts have their label askew or falling down, or are mysteriously unlabeled. For example there is a big tray of dirt in one of the main exhibit halls, sitting on a cheap old folding table. On the other hand, in the middle of the floor stands a detailed explanation of a fascinating mask. Wow, great.....where's the mask? A staff member miraculously appeared. We were able to slow her down long enough to ask our question. Turns out......the mask had never in fact been hung, and there were no plans to do so!

Overall, the lighting makes it hard to see some of the exhibits. For example, some argillite totem poles for which there is no room in the display cases, have been placed haphazardly into drawers on a black cloth background. Black on black in dim light. Just as well they didn't bother with labels for those.

Speaking of drawers, they are a fine idea the curators here have copied from other museums. However the drawers are not actually labeled, so you may not even know which ones have something in them. After some initial success, we found we were opening empty drawer after empty drawer. After encountering a drawer occupied with Windex and dirty rags, we decided we'd had enough pulling.

There are some beautiful canoes on display at one end of the complex, but at least one of them is exposed to the sun and clearly splitting. They have a huge area available; why not protect this poor boat?

There is an awesome diorama of a traditional native village at the canoe end of the complex. But the diorama is jammed up against a wall bearing a hagiography of Bill Reid. So you can't read half of what was written about Reid.

The place doesn't seem to have been vacuumed since it opened.

All of the above is inexcusable, considering this facility's massive endowment of tax dollars. The Haida people could well argue those millions are a tiny down-payment in reparations for what has been stolen from them over the past 150 years. Fair enough. But then whoever was responsible for this project shouldn't have over-reached as they clearly have. They should have done a world-class job in a smaller space, instead of a mediocre job in a huge space.

My biggest single disappointment is, there is practically no gold jewelry to be seen. I know that's my own fault for expecting to see much of it.....gold isn't really a traditional medium for Haida artists, and they only really got into doing it because there is such a huge demand from rich white folks. Still, I was staggered by the most stunning display of this material at the Vancouver Art Gallery a few years back and would have loved to view more of it in Skidegate.

And now, a little more info because not everybody is going to visit in July or August. The Haida Heritage Centre's website may lead you to believe the "Eating House" (sorry, it's just a cafeteria, albeit with a great view) is open any time. Well, not in our September experience. In fact, injury is added to insult because you can see delicious-smelling soup being prepared behind the closed metal screen, and you can't buy any of it. Apparently the food is meant for staff or maybe for the students being taught culture (we think) in classrooms down the hall. So, for heaven's sake, have a good lunch in Queen Charlotte first, before you go out to the museum. It's a pain in the neck to drive there for opening time, fantasizing that you might spend every hour from 10 till 5 marveling at all the marvels. Only to find that you have to spend 35 cents per km on your rental car to have to go back to Queen Charlotte to have an intermission in the middle of your visit, so you don't starve.

We were told numerous times that lots of lectures and hands-on demos are held during the summer. Well, that's great if you can go in July or August, but the place was dead as a doornail while we were there. We imagined a Haida carver or painter or two might at least be observed doing their work in the vast, fabulous studios through whose windows we peered forlornly. No such luck. Lights off, no one around.

So in sum, if you've never been to a decent museum, you'll be enthralled by this place. Hopefully there will be some improvements before you go yourself. It certainly wouldn't be worth it for us to go back.
Written October 1, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DzmitryB
Tempe, AZ389 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2011 • Solo
I visited the Haida Heritage Centre for several times, but I strongly advice you to come to visit this place at the very first day you come to the islands. There is lots of information about the Haida culture and history of the islands. Museum in the center is the thing “must do”, as you will understand how unique the Queen Charlotte Islands are. During the week there is always a chance to go on different guided tours close to the center. I took a boat tour as well as a totem pole tour. The guides are local Haida students, very friendly. So, study the week program of the center to see what the most interesting thing for you is. Actually there is a café inside of the building but I did not eat there – you always can! Moreover, I bought some presents for my family at souvenirs shop at the center. Some locals recommended coming to this shop to buy jewellery, books and local souvenirs. Indeed, the place is worth visiting.
Written September 4, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
We are very glad you enjoyed the canoe and pole tours! Haawa/thank you for exploring our Centre!
Written May 10, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

mbw56
Canada86 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
We always visit Haida Heritage Centre when we come to the island. Specifically to poke around the gift shop, and check out their temporary installation. This time, while there was a small guided tour in progress, the place was almost deserted. We decided to check out what was on the menu and grab some takeaway and to our astonishment, the Kay Bistro sat abandoned, looking forlorn. A hand written note advised that buying pop and water was on the honour system, and give the money to the gift shop.

After an interesting stroll around the canoes we ended up in the lobby where a local artist was working and displaying her paintings. It turned out we had a lot in common, so our visit was not lost. She advised that the entrepreneur who ran Kay Bistro now had an establishment in Queen Charlotte called Blacktail. We went there for dinner, and I wrote a separate review of that experience.

I note that some reviewers say that "it's Haida Gwaii", and one should basically lower ones travel expectations. In my view that is a cop-out. If you are in the hospitality and restaurant business, you ought to be there because you love people, you love good food, and enjoy making us happy.

I do hope that an enterprising and hospitable chef takes on the challenge of Kay Bistro, including First Host training for the staff.
Written August 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sbf303
London, UK32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Friends
We spent 9 days in Haida Gwaii - on our second day we went to visit the Haida Heritage and spent a great many hours enjoying the well laid out exhibits and found it to be very educational. We ran out of time so went again for the second day and had a tour of the museum by an experienced and knowledgeable young guide. She was very enthusistic about the museum and the culture. Allow as many hours as you can. The restaurant in the museum is also excellent with a good choice of food including vegetarian dishes. A class museum
Written August 28, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GlasseventsYYC
Calgary8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Friends
This place is amazing. Our party (two couples, no kids) spent hours in this place exploring art and artifact. There was so much to learn and see. We also did an interactive workshop with the artist in residence.

One of the highlights was the large, outdoor carving area. While we were there, a large totem pole project was underway and it was great to have a chance to see the artists at work.

In addition to enjoying what the heritage center has to offer inside, it's worth taking a walk outside to see the breathtaking beach.
Written October 15, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lee-Ann H
182 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Family
If you like museums, this is a must do! They offer free guided tours and it will give you great insight into the tradition, history and culture of the area. You can also watch carvers at work on totem poles. The cafe has great food and there is ocean view picnic areas.
Written August 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Haawa/thank you for stopping by the Centre! We are happy to hear that you had the opportunity to take part in our daily tours!
Written May 23, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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