About Canadian Museum of History
The Canadian Museum of History (Musée Canadien de l’histoire) is a museum of the history of Canada including the culture and heritage of its Aboriginal people, the Vikings and stories of the leaders and figures who have shaped the nation over time.
The Canadian Museum of History began in its first iteration in May 1856, as part of the Geological Survey of Canada. The museum grew into the National Museum of Canada and then the National Museum of Man. A new anthropology division was established in 1910 and the museum has been a centre for research in Canadian anthropology since this period.
In 1916, a fire destroyed most of Ottawa’s Parliamentary Buildings. Parliament was housed in the museum building temporarily, meaning that the museum’s collections were put in storage until 1920. In 1927, the Geological Survey became the National Museum of Canada, encompassing national collections of human history and natural history.
In 1986, it became the Canadian Museum of Civilization, moving into its magnificent Gatineau building three years later.
As an amendment to the Museums Act, the Canadian Museum of History Act was implemented in December 2013. This renamed the Canadian Museum of Civilization to the Canadian Museum of History and defined its purpose as “to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of events, experiences, people and objects that reflect and have shaped Canada’s history and identity, and also to enhance their awareness of world history and cultures.”
Canadian Museum of History today
The Canadian Museum of History is the most visited Museum in Canada and welcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year to its celebrated complex in the heart of the National Capital Region.
In addition to its ongoing exhibitions, including the spectacular Grand Hall and First Peoples Hall, each year the Museum presents a number of outstanding exhibitions focusing on Canadian and world history and civilisations. These exhibitions include those developed by the Museum as well as many produced by other Canadian or international institutions. The Museum is also home to the Canadian Children’s Museum, a 500-seat theatre and a 295-seat movie theatre equipped with a giant 3D screen and a giant dome.
Research activities are concentrated in the fields of history, archaeology, ethnology and cultural studies. The National Collection consists of more than four million artefacts, specimens, works of art, written documents, and sound and visual recordings. More than 218,000 artefacts in the collection are accessible in an online database.
Getting to Canadian Museum of History
The museum is located in the Hull area of Gatineau, Quebec, directly across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. It is 2km from the Shaw centre, 2 km from Parliamant Hill and 15km from the airport.
Canada Historic Sites
Discover the best historic sites in Canada, from Kejimkujik National Park to the Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, as well as Canada's national history museums.