Museum of Civilization – Gatineau, Quebec

Museum of Civilization – Gatineau, Quebec

A great place to visit but I certainly don’t get there as often as I would like to. This day in June, seemed like a good time as any to pack up my camera gear and head across the river for another visit to this museum. A number of years ago, I met a tour guide of Haidan ancestry at the UBC Museum of Anthropology who said that she would like to see pictures of the Museum of Civilization’s Grand Hall. She was particularly interested in the Haidan house because much of the exhibit came from a location of her youth and her grandmother’s village.

Grand Hall - Museum of Civilization

The grand hall is indeed grand. Because the totem poles are so tall and the buildings are so wide it is a bit tough to photograph the whole area.

I had come equipped with my newer Nikon AF wide angle lenses giving me coverage in the 12mm to 55mm range and then included my older Nikon MF 105mm f2.5 lens to give me a telephoto capacity when needed. I wanted fast glass, which all of these are, but, since I wasn’t too sure of the photography policy of the Museum, I also wanted to remain as discreet as one can with a full size DSLR. My thinking was that carrying in my D300 with grip and a 70-200 f2.8 hanging off the front might get me a ‘professional’ tag and extra paperwork to fill out. I left my Gitzo tripod in the car but did bring my Manfrotto monopod with me. So with that combination hung over my shoulder and around my neck I walked up to the ticket wicket and bought my entrance ticket. So far, so good. No questions. No complaints. No forms to fill out.

Tall totems in front of Haida house - Grand Hall - Museum of Civilization Totems and earthquakes - Museum of Civilization Totem Pole - Museum of Civilization Haida Totem - Museum of Civilization

Took the escalator down to the main floor and proceeded to do my photography thing. For a while, at least, the security folks walked by, looked at me, etc. but no one said anything.

Haida House - Museum of Civilization
Finally, but not unexpected, one of the security folks approached me and asked me if I was a professional and whether I had filled in the paperwork. “Paperwork?”, says I. Off to the main security area to check into this paperwork thing. Discretely changed to my most innocent looking lens. Answered a few questions. “Working for a newspaper?” “Nope!” “A magazine?” etc. “Just here to take some photos to share with someone in B.C.”, etc. Relatively standard museum restrictions – no flash, no tripod. Everyone was extremely pleasant and just doing their job. In the end, they decided that I didn’t fit any of their criteria for filling out any forms and off I went to finish taking my shots of the Haidan village and totem poles.

Haida - Museum of Civilization Haida Totem Detail - Museum of Civilization Haida Totem Pole - Museum of Civilization

For some unknown reason, I am rather fond of masks so I try to photograph a few in each museum that I visit. Almost always shooting through glass and almost always low light and generally require some WB adjustment but I enjoy trying anyway.

This day was no exception. This first mask reminded me a bit of a current politician (my sense of humour 😉 but all the others were just shots of random masks that were positioned in reasonable lighting.
Haida Mask - Museum of Civilization Haida Mask - Museum of Civilization Haida Mask - Museum of Civilization Haida Mask - Museum of Civilization Haida Shaman Rattle - Museum of Civilization Haida Mask - Museum of Civilization Haida Carving - Museum of Civilization Haida Carving - Museum of Civilization

Before I knew it, it was time to head off to another meeting. Always lots to look at in a museum and never enough time to see it all. Oh well, maybe next time.

Haida House - Room Divider/Partition Screen - Museum of Civilization Museum of Civilization

Sometimes, I am left just itching to open another door!

Behind every door some danger lurks.

Next time I’ll have to remember to bring my safety boots, safety glasses and hard hat! I wonder if my photographer’s vest will be adequate?  :-).

One thought on “Museum of Civilization – Gatineau, Quebec

  1. Ann Cameron September 24, 2010 / 10:18 am

    I love the masks Ron!! You will have to bring a couple back with you from Africa.

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