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Young girl and boy looking at crest pole (929.77.2), north staircase, ROM
Object Name: Crest pole
Museum ID Number: ROM2004_1306_15
Image Number: ROM2004_1306_15

A little girl looks up from the Museum’s ground floor at the crest pole of a mountain chief from Geetiks, Lower Nass River, Tsimshian Tribe.

The ROM’s four crest poles of western red cedar were carved by the Nisga’a and Haida peoples of Canada’s northwest coast. Although often referred to as “totem poles”, they are more accurately described as “crest poles” since carved figures represent crests commemorating family origins, rights, privileges, achievements and experiences.

Collected by C.M. Barbeau, the ROM obtained the crest poles in the 1920s but there was no room to display them until the Museum was enlarged in 1933. Because of their size, the crest poles had to be installed long before the building was completed. The Museum’s main staircases wind around the poles.

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