Here are a few more pictures from our trip to Ottawa. Actually, the Museum of Civilization is located in Gatineau, Quebec, across the river from Ottawa.
There are excellent bike paths and bridges to cross, so it's a good area to explore on bikes, and many people were doing just that.
The museum building, which is large and impressive, is supposed to represent the land after the retreat of the glaciers - it also reminds me of snow drifts or rock sculpted by water. On our way in, we saw a sign offering reduced admission to the two museums located nearby: The Museum of Civilization, and the Canadian War Museum. "Well," J. remarked dryly, "that just about covers it." We didn't go to the War Museum, but apparently the current show is a good one: it's on the War of 1812, from four different perspectives (I'm not sure, but I'm guessing they are English Canada, French Canada, American, and Native American.) I'm quite sure it's a larger view than we were taught in American schools.
In the courtyard, there are sculptures of human beings by Louis Archambault, originally shown in Montreal at Expo 67. I was amused by a resident flock of Canada geese (how appropriate!) marching among them, but couldn't get a good picture of that.
Inside, we saw a 3-D IMAX film about the arctic; a good exhibition about the Mayans; another, quite intriguing and interactive, about religious diversity and belief; and a Diamond Jubilee tribute to the Queen, focused on her many trips to Canada. We walked briefly through the permanent exhibition about the native peoples of Canada -- it's very large and we need to go back to do it justice.
There was a friendly Mountie, sort of on guard.
But my favorite thing was the great hall which holds many totem poles from the Pacific Coast peoples. Seeing them here, of course, is a very different experience from seeing them in situ -- though many have been reclaimed by the rain forest. It helped to have read Emily Carr's journals earlier this year, and her accounts of visiting villages where she was given permission to draw the poles, and of the friends she made there.
I was stunned by their size and their powerful presence. I got very quiet, and just looked. They looked back.