When it comes to museums, there is no shortage in Ottawa. Covering almost any topic such as history, nature, science and technology, and art, Ottawa has a fascinating museum for every taste. If you can’t make up your mind about which to see, and would like to see more than one, the city offers a Museums Passport which is the best way to explore the many exhibitions in the Canadian Capital. Visit www.museumspassport.ca and find out how it works.
Here’s our six favorite museums in Ottawa.
The Canadian War museum
The building’s magnificent design is only the beginning of a great experience. One of the most interesting museums in Ottawa, The Canadian War Museum is a memorial to the men and women who served in the armed forces. This venue covers the country’s military history from the first armed encounters, hundreds of years ago, to the latest involvements in conflicts. Friendly for all ages, the museum tells the story of Canada’s role in peace and war and shows how the country’s involvement has made a difference in conflict and peace. Permanent exhibitions focus on wars that have been fought on Canadian soil, the wars of the twentieth century, the Cold War and peace support operations. A moving program of special and travelling exhibitions, complements the already incredible museum.
Click here for more information: The Canadian War Museum
The National Gallery of Canada
Wether solo, with friends or family, this venue is splendid. The National Gallery of Canada presents a varied and rich collection of artwork from the Middle Ages to contemporary art, all housed in a beautiful building. The National Gallery’s collection holds the most comprehensive collection of Canadian and Inuit art, including a large number of paintings by the Group of Seven, celebrated Canadian artists. It is also home to a large collection of American, European and Asian work.
You will find prints, drawings, photographs, painting, sculpture, modern and contemporary art and a variety of resources such as films, books and explanations about the artists’ lives and work. The Gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions from around the world, often co-sponsored with other national art galleries and museums. The contemporary art exhibitions change every few months to offer up to date encounters with art created over the past three decades in Canada and around the world.
On weekends the gallery holds its child-friendly, hands-on Artissimo program which encourages children of three years old and up to create works of art which will then displayed in the Artissimo Gallery.
Click here for more information: The National Gallery of Canada.
Canadian museum of nature
Especially popular amongst children, the Canadian Museum of Nature is a wonderful place with something interesting for every age group. This museum of natural history features awe-inspiring exhibits and many interactive features that ensure visitors of all ages will be entertained. It has seven permanent galleries:
- The Fossil Gallery looks at the events that led to the extinction of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals.
- The Water Gallery, which is all about this valuable natural resource.
- The Earth Gallery features a magnificent exhibition of minerals and rocks.
- The Animalium gallery presents live insects, arachnids and slugs.
- The Mammal Gallery features remarkable specimens of Canada’s wild animals.
- The Bird Gallery is currently closed for renovation. Reopening July 2016.
- The Stone Wall Gallery showcases changing displays about natural science.
Click here for more information: Canadian Museum of Nature.
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
One of the best aviation museums in the world, the Canada Aviation Museum presents a great overview of Canadian aviation history before WWI to the present day. It features a wide variety of civilian and military aircraft including a noteworthy collection of vintage bushplanes from the 1920s to the 1940s. Interactive activities such as flight simulators are also on site, at an extra cost.
In spring and summer, visitors to the Museum can take helicopter rides or flying tours of the Ottawa in an open cockpit Waco UPF-7 biplane circa 1939.
Click here for more information: Canada Aviation and Space Museum.
The Canadian Museum of History (former Canadian Museum of Civilization)
The country’s most visited museum has to be on our list of the best museums in Ottawa. The Canadian Museum of History highlights Canada’s history, its civilization and the diversity of its people. It presents events, experiences and objects and explains how these have shaped the nation’s history. This venue has three permanent exhibitions.
The Grand Hall offers beautiful views of the Ottawa River and Parliament Buildings and exhibits the world’s largest indoor collection of totem poles. The First People’s hall narrates the history of Canada’s aboriginal peoples from their beginnings to the present day. The Canadian History Hall, currently closed for renovation, is expected to open on July 1, 2017. It will tell the story of Canada from it very first inhabitants to the present day. A wide variety of special exhibitions expand on Canadian themes and explore other cultures and civilizations.
The museum is also home to the Canadian Children’s Museum, filled with hands-on games and exhibits. Children receive a passport and can travel all around the world.
For more information click here: The Canadian Museum of History.
Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum
With lots of well-kept animals to touch and learn about, this museum is a kid’s paradise. It illustrates how advances in farming science and technology have transformed the lives of Canadians. The museum holds exhibits, public programs and many special programs such as the Sheep Shearing Festival (May), Ice Cream festival (August), a Barnyard Halloween, and others.
Check out their website to see the daily demos offered, upcoming festivals and recipes from their demonstration kitchen. Bring a picnic along, there is a huge covered picnic area under the apple trees or near the children’s play area.
For more information click here: Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum.
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