City on Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism

September 28, 2017 - February 19, 2018

Visually stunning, City on Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism is a photo-based exhibition exploring how protest demonstrations have shaped Vancouver’s identity.

The exhibition is a unique opportunity to access rarely seen images capturing epic moments of the City of Vancouver’s protest history from the Vancouver Sun and The Province newspapers’ photo collection. These photographs are exceptional historical records of intense and transformative moments in the lives of Vancouverites.

City on Edge builds on the book of the same name, published by Greystone Books, and authored by retired Vancouver Sun research librarian Kate Bird.

This MOV exhibition is co-curated by Kate Bird and MOV curator Viviane Gosselin and Designed by Amir Ofek.


Unbelievable: Secret, Rare & Amazing Treasures!

June 24, 2017 - September 24, 2017

On the occasion of Canada's 150th anniversary, we're diving deep into our vault and showcasing some of Vancouver's most valuable treasures. 

Unbelievable features contested objects, storied replicas and, iconic artifacts for a mind-bending exploration of the role stories play in defining community – and what happens when these tales can not be relied upon.  

We currently live in a post-truth world full of fake news, alternative facts and falsehoods, where literally nothing can be taken at face value. In Unbelievable, we will look at the contradictory and unbelievable stories behind treasured artifacts challenging visitors to look differently at the world and facts. 

Vienna Model / Wohnpark Alt-Erlaa, 1985

The Vienna Model: Housing for the Twenty-First-Century City

May 17, 2017 - July 16, 2017

With its innovative ideas, especially in the field of social housing, the city of Vienna has long been a pioneer in the global pursuit of new strategies for the design and implementation of forward-thinking urban developments and ways of living. Building on urbanistic and social aspects, Vienna has not only constructed new projects with distinctive qualities throughout the city but also founded and revitalized entire quarters. With their historical roots in “Red Vienna,” these concepts signal dynamic opportunities to enhance the quality of life in a contemporary metropolis by creating model living environments.

The Vienna Model: Housing for the Twenty-First-Century City shines the spotlight on sixty prototypical projects from the last hundred years, with a special focus on the public art that has complemented the city’s housing since the First Republic. Today about 60% of the Viennese population live in municipally built, owned or managed housing and the city clearly controls its housing market. This is a different condition than exists in the United States where, in most cases, the private market is the provider of housing and is relied upon even to rehabilitate existing neighborhoods and create new communities. To expand this architectural and urban discussion, the curators invited Vancouver and Vienna based artists and cultural researchers Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber to look at these communal spaces and concepts and speculate on how they resonate within artistic and cultural practices. Their selection of art projects and public works will accompany, reflect upon, and contextualize the selected examples and also shape the format of the exhibition and publication.


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Vancouver in the Seventies

October 13th, 2016 to July 16, 2017

The exhibition featured 400 photographic gems from the Vancouver Sun newspaper collection, as well as several 1970s artefacts from the Museum’s collection. These stunning shots illustrated an intense period of self-discovery and growing up for Vancouver. They captured the beauty of everyday events and chronicle the drama of pivotal moments that continue to shape the city.

The images were organized around themes of protesting, building, performing, and playing in Vancouver. Visitors were invited to add their significant 1970s Vancouver happenings to a visual timeline of events and factoids. Vancouver in the Seventies builds on the book of the same name by Greystone Books. It is authored by retired Vancouver Sun research librarian Kate Bird with an introduction by columnist Shelley Fralic.

To encourage Vancouverites to think about the future of their city, the Museum of Vancouver invited people to come together to reflect on the 1970s through the lenses of activism, arts, and business. Public programs included an event where news photographers and journalists shares their perspectives and invited debates on the evolving field of photojournalism.


All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds

June 23rd, 2016 to March 19th, 2017

All Together Now: Vancouver Collectors and Their Worlds featured 20 beautiful, rare, and unconventional collections, with something for everyone including corsets, prosthetics, pinball machines, taxidermy, toys, and much more. In this exhibition both collector and collected were objects of study, interaction, and delight.

All Together Now explored the act of collecting, the collector’s vision and the role collections play in building identity, public memory and social connections. The exhibition will explore the questions: Why do people collect, and how do private collections touch public consciousness?

The project built on the fascination with private collections, as evidenced by TV shows dedicated to the subject and thriving online and in-person communities of collectors. Vancouverites were invited to submit their collections for inclusion in the exhibition.


Your Future Home: Creating the New Vancouver

January 21st, 2016 to May 15th, 2016

Co-presenters Museum of Vancouver and Vancouver Urbanarium explored challenges and solutions relating to citizens’ greatest concerns.

Your Future Home invited people to discover surprising facts about the city and imagine what Vancouver might become. This major exhibition engaged visitors with the bold visual language and lingo of real estate advertising as it presented the visions of talented Vancouver designers about how we might design the cityscapes of the future. Throughout the run of the exhibition, visitors deepened their experience through a series of programs, including workshops, happy hours, and debates among architectural, real estate and urban planning experts.

The Vancouver Urbanarium Society and Museum of Vancouver are grateful for the support of Rositch Hemphill Architects, Marcon Investments Ltd., Wesgroup Properties LP, Macdonald Development Corporation, Glotman Simpson, Richard Henriquez, Henriquez Partners Architects, Rethink, Adera Development Corporation, BTY Consulting Group, Brooks Pooni Associates, PFS Studio, Bruce Haden, Andrew Gruft, Leslie Van Duzer, and Marta Farevaag. Additionally, the Museum would like to thank its institutional funders: City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, and BC Arts Council, and the exhibition media sponsor: CBC Vancouver.


Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show

April 23, 2015 - September 7, 2015

One of the largest exhibitions in MOV’s 120-year history, this astonishing experience transcended the boundary between art and design. It took over museum galleries and inbetween, including the Museum’s bathrooms, in order to ask: what makes us happy? Sagmeister, who has documented his struggles with alcohol and drugs, weight gain, and depression, first conceptualized The Happy Show in an attempt to define and control his own happiness during a client-free sabbatical—a year-long break he takes every seven years to creatively recharge. The final display was the result of 10 years of research into his own personal happiness. Confronted with stories about wellness, mindfulness, and sexuality, viewers were immersed in an experience akin to walking into Sagmeister’s mind. The Happy Show was comprised of an array of engaging infographics, video projections, and interactive installations, including a stationary bike that powered a wall of neon, a giant inflatable monkey, and a series of gum ball machines that displayed visitors’ collective level of happiness. Audiences also enjoyed a short preview of Sagmeister’s documentary, The Happy Film, which depicts his attempts to increase his happiness through meditation, cognitive therapy, and moodaltering pharmaceuticals. The Georgia Straight reported, “The Happy Show will leave you smiling.” Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, curated by Claudia Gould. Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support provided by The Chodorow Exhibition Initiative Fund; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; The Dietrich Foundation, Inc.; the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art; friends and members of ICA; and the University of Pennsylvania.

Canadian Pavilion - Venice Biennale

Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15

October 8, 2015 - December 13, 2015

This exhibition marked the 15th anniversary of the founding of Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut, in 1999, and its rapid rise. Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 surveys a century of arctic architecture, an urbanizing present, and a projected near future of adaptive architecture in Nunavut. Each of these components documents architectural history in this remarkable but relatively little known region of Canada, describes the contemporary realities of life in its communities, and examines an adapting role for architecture moving forward. Visitors delved into the realities of contemporary life in this sublime yet fragile region, exploring philosophies of adaptation, ingenuity, and the intersection of technology and tradition. Concepts were illuminated through soapstone carvings of significant architectural works, topographic models and photographs of Nunavut’s 25 communities, and replicas of structures enhanced by animations which suggest innovative solutions in the delivery of housing, health, arts, education, and recreation. Arctic Adaptations explored modernism’s legacy within the contextual particularities of the North. The exhibition documented architectural history in this remarkable but relatively unknown region, describing the contemporary realities of life in its communities, and examines the role for architecture moving forward. It argued that modern Inuit cultures continue to evolve and merge the traditional and the contemporary in unique and innovative ways, and questions whether architecture, which has largely failed this region can be equally innovative and adaptive. The exhibition, which was organized and curated by Lateral Office, was originally shown in 2014 at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia. It was presented and coordinated by the Winnipeg Art Gallery with assistance from the Museums Assistance Program, department of Canadian Heritage, and presenting sponsor Manulife.