Canada is home to various museums, each with its unique focus. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at the provincial and territorial museums of Canada. From the Museum of Anthropology in British Columbia to the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation, there’s something for everyone! So whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just looking for something different to do, be sure to check out one of these museums on your next visit to Canada.
Provincial and territorial museums
The province or territory of Canada typically maintains provincial and territorial museums in Canada to preserve local history and culture. Many provinces and territories, however, maintain museums that house collections one way or another, sometimes spanning beyond their provincial borders to showcase historical and natural exhibits from around the world. In Quebec, a French-speaking province, the provincial government refers to these museums as “national” to distinguish them from other provincial museums.
A museum of human and natural history.
The Manitoba Museum is the provincial Museum of Manitoba, Canada. The Museum is located in the city of Winnipeg. The Museum was established in 1879. The Museum’s collections include natural history and human history. The Museum also has a planetarium and an IMAX theatre. Website: https://manitobamuseum.ca
Musée de la civilisation
A museum of human history.
The Musée de la civilization in Quebec City is one of the most important museums in Canada. It houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada. The Museum also has a significant collection of European art and artifacts. The Museum is dedicated to promoting understanding and respect for the cultures of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. Website: https://www.mcq.org
New Brunswick Museum
A museum of human and natural history, it is the oldest continuously operating Museum in Canada.
The New Brunswick Museum is the oldest continuing Museum in Canada. It was established in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1842. The Museum’s collections and exhibits reflect the province’s natural and human history. The Museum is also home to the World Migratory Bird Day Art Exhibition, which features Canadian and international artists’ artwork that celebrates migratory birds’ beauty and importance. Website: https://www.nbm-mnb.ca
Nova Scotia Museum
The Museum is a decentralized system comprised of 28 museums spread throughout the province.
Nova Scotia Museum is the provincial Museum of Nova Scotia. It was established in 1868 and is located in Halifax. The Museum has a collection of over two million artifacts and specimens, divided into three main sections: history, science, and art.
The history section covers the province’s maritime heritage, Mi’kmaq culture, and the Acadian Expulsion. The science section includes a planetarium and exhibits on natural history, geology, and paleontology. The art section features exhibitions of Nova Scotian artists as well as rotating exhibitions from other parts of Canada.
The Nova Scotia Museum is open year-round and offers a variety of educational programs for all ages. Admission is free for children under five years old, and there are discounts for seniors, students, and families. Website: https://museum.novascotia.ca
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
A museum of human and natural history, it also houses the territorial government’s archives.
The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is a Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada museum. The Museum is operated by the Government of the Northwest Territories and is dedicated to the history and heritage of the country’s northern region entry.
The Museum was established in 1983 and is housed in a former Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. The building was constructed in 1936 and is one of the few remaining examples of early 20th-century architecture in Yellowknife.
The Museum’s collections focus on the history and culture of the Dene people, the indigenous people of the Northwest Territories. The collections include artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the story of the Dene people from their earliest ancestors to the present day.
The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is open year-round and offers a variety of public programs and events. Website: https://www.pwnhc.ca
Royal Alberta Museum
A museum of human and natural history.
The Royal Alberta Museum is a museum of human history and natural science in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Museum is located in the city’s downtown core, on the north side of Edmonton’s historic Stanley Park.
The Royal Alberta Museum was founded in 1955 as the Provincial Museum of Alberta. It was renamed in 2005 to its current name to reflect the royal status bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II. The Museum has over 6,000 items in its collection and offers a wide variety of programming and events for the public.
The Royal Alberta Museum is home to many unique exhibits that tell the story of Alberta’s people and landscape. The Museum also has a planetarium and IMAX theatre, popular tourist attractions. Website: https://royalalbertamuseum.ca
Royal British Columbia Museum
A museum of human and natural history, it also houses the provincial archives after merging with British Columbia Archives in 2003.
The Royal British Columbia Museum is the provincial Museum of British Columbia, Canada. The Museum is located in Victoria, on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen people.
The Museum was founded in 1886, making it one of the oldest museums in Canada. The Museum’s collections focus on the natural and human history of British Columbia, with over 7 million specimens and artifacts. The Museum is also home to the Royal BC Museum IMAX Theatre, which shows documentaries on various topics.
The Royal BC Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Victoria or British Columbia. The Museum offers something for everyone, with exhibits on natural history, First Nations cultures, local history, and more. Website: https://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca
Royal Ontario Museum
A museum of art, human and natural history, it is the largest and most visited Museum in Canada.
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the largest museums in North America and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Toronto. It houses more than six million items in its collections, including art, archaeology, paleontology, and natural history. The Museum also has an extensive program of public events and educational outreach. Website: https://www.rom.on.ca
Royal Saskatchewan Museum
A museum of natural history.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is the provincial Museum of Saskatchewan, Canada. It is located in the city of Regina. The Museum was founded in 1906 and has since been dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting Saskatchewan’s natural and human history.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum houses over half a million specimens and artifacts, including an extensive fossil collection. The Museum also has interactive exhibits on topics such as dinosaurs, Aboriginal peoples, and the geology of Saskatchewan. In addition to its exhibits, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum offers public programs, educational resources, and research services. Website: https://royalsaskmuseum.ca
A museum of human and natural history, the Museum shares a building with the provincial archives and art gallery.
The Rooms, St. John’s, is the largest public Museum in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is located in downtown St. John’s, on the west coast of Newfoundland.
The Museum is housed in a three-story building that was formerly the headquarters of the Newfoundland Government. The building was designed by architect William Glass and completed in 1937. It is one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture in Canada.
The Museum has five galleries that showcase Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural and human history. The galleries are:
- The Story of Newfoundland and Labrador: This gallery tells the province’s story from its geological beginnings to the present.
- The Life and Times of Confederation: This gallery explores the people, events, and issues that shaped Confederation in 1867.
- Outport life: This gallery looks at the daily lives of people living in outport communities around Newfoundland.
- Titanic: This gallery features artifacts from the Titanic, which sank off Newfoundland’s coast in 1912.
- Wildlife: This gallery showcases the diverse wildlife of Newfoundland and Labrador, including polar bears, caribou, moose, seabirds, and whales.
There are many provincial and territorial museums in Canada, each with its unique focus and collection. These museums provide an essential window into the history and culture of the country’s various regions and offer visitors a chance to learn about the people and events that have shaped Canada. Whether you’re interested in art, natural history, or local folklore, there’s sure to be a provincial or territorial museum that has something for you. So next time you plan a trip, check out one of these unique institutions.