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U'mista Cultural Centre

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: #1 Front Street, Alert Bay, British Columbia VON 1A0, Canada
Phone Number:
+1 250-974-5403
09:00 - 17:00
Open now
See all hours
Tue - Sat 09:00 - 17:00

U'mista Cultural Centre is one of the longest-operating and most successful...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 126 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 90
  • 19
    Very good
  • 3
  • 0
  • 1
Great cultural experience

We actually went to the cultural center in August of 2015 after watching the Alert Bay 360. The whole experience is amazing. You feel very privileged to be a part of the... read more

Reviewed 19 February 2017
Bellingham, WA
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126 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 113: English reviews
Bellingham, WA
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2017

We actually went to the cultural center in August of 2015 after watching the Alert Bay 360. The whole experience is amazing. You feel very privileged to be a part of the cultural sharing of the indigenous people of this area. The dancing and story telling are amazing and captivated my kids who were 7 and 9 at the time.... More 

Thank sarawhite
Tecumseh, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 October 2016

After the 45 minute BC Ferry ride from Port McNeill, we landed on Cormorant Island. My wife and I walked down the “Oceanside Boardwalk” along Front Street of the Alert Bay Village. Twenty minutes later we arrived at the front door of the U’mista Cultural Centre at 11:45 a.m. We were the first visitors of the day! I had read... More 

4 Thank Ian N
Level Contributor
53 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 October 2016

We had a wonderful experience at the U'mista Cultural Center. We were lucky to be able to join a tour and get the history behind some of the masks and other artifacts. We learned a lot about the First Nation.

1 Thank eckdish
Port Townsend, Washington
Level Contributor
249 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 October 2016

Based on a collection of work originally confiscated by mounties in the early 1900's the display of masks alone is well worth the visit

1 Thank Stephen C
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 October 2016 via mobile

There is such a rich history here with a horrid past. The masks and snippets of traditional stories are unforgettable. The museum highlights Canadian history including the good and the bad. I unfortunately did not have the time to watch the movie on the residential school survivors but have met friends whose parents survived...the suffering is still felt generations later.... More 

1 Thank Courtney B
Pasco, Washington
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 September 2016

The Pot latch exhibit was truly impressive. The weaving areas was also fascinating. Reasonable price and well worth the few hours to go through the museum. Beautifil jewelry in gift shop, great stories throughout the museum.

1 Thank BusinessTrav999
Alert Bay
Level Contributor
20 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2016 via mobile

This is a wonderful Museum so much culture in one building the potlatch collection is very interesting

1 Thank Mike C
Level Contributor
23 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 September 2016

plan ahead.. dancers are seasonal and only a couple days a week. Fabulous weaving exhibition on and the mask displays are impressive and moving. The outdoor residential school has been eradicated and removed.. a source of pain and suffering that is no more.

2 Thank ComoxLib
Richmond, Canada
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 September 2016

A journey to witness the Return of the Potlatch Regalia, turned into a retreat to the soul of the Coast, The Simple friendliness and generosity which was every where on our trip appears to be the natural cultural expression of Generosity of the Namg'iis People.

Thank DerHotelinspector
Parksville, Canada
Level Contributor
75 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 September 2016

I do appreciate the native masks and the history behind them, but $15 + tax for the guided tour of a very small cultural centre, I'm sorry was not worth it.

Thank StageStruck56

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