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Returning up the Pacific coast in 1913, Currelly's attention was caught by the cedar-bark garments of the West Coast Indians and by their intricate basketwork and pottery. In British Columbia he met the Cana- THE OPENING 37 dian ethnologist Marius Barbeau, who had just returned from Oxford University and had joined the museum of the Geological Survey of Canada. It was through Barbeau that Currelly later acquired three of the four giant totem poles that were to become a feature of the new wing of the Royal Ontario Museum erected in 1931/1933.
He spent much time at the beginning of the summer at the British and the South Kensington museums, preparing himself for the post of curator which he hoped to occupy in Toronto as soon as the building was up. At the same time he sought the acquaintance of London dealers, though finding himself in these historic surroundings among long-established museums and dealers of great experience, he was cautious about adding to his debts. But it was not in Currelly's nature to retain an air of modest submission among experts for long.
Currelly was the only director to list the value of the gifts in his museum. For the science directors the task was clearly impossible. A few days later Walker wrote to the Honourable W. H. Hearst, minister of lands, forests, and mines, and the senior of the two ministers who were members ex officio of the board of trustees of the Museum. He listed the donors and set the value of their gifts at $564 850. At the same time he quoted the turnstile record of visitors in the few days since the Museum had opened as 7345.