Musqueam First Nation, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC, and the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) partner on a groundbreaking exploration of an ancient landscape and living culture c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city — a series of three distinct exhibitions, opening in the third week of January, 2015. The unified exhibits will connect visitors with c̓əsnaʔəm — one of the largest ancient village and burial sites upon which Vancouver was built — sharing its powerful 5,000-year history and continuing significance.
The exhibition at MOA focuses on Musqueam identity and worldview. It highlights language, oral history, and the community’s recent actions to protect c̓əsnaʔəm. Rich in multi-media, it demonstrates Musqueam’s continuous connection to their territory, despite the many changes to the land. Told from the first-person perspectives of Musqueam community members both past and present, it also seeks to replicate aspects of Musqueam ways of educating. c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city at MOA will leave the visitor with a different understanding of the deep history of what is now known as Metro Vancouver.
The exhibition at the Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre & Gallery focuses on the sophistication of the Musqueam culture – past and present. It makes connections between the expertise of pre-contact knowledge-holders and contemporary professionals. The exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver draws connections between c̓əsnaʔəm artifacts, Indigenous ways of knowing, colonialism, heritage politics, cultural resilience, and contemporary Musqueam culture. It includes graphic and 3D modelling of maps and artifacts, original videography, family-friendly interactivity, and soundscapes blending traditional and modern sounds.