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A list of museums in and around Ottawa

“Maman”, a giant spider sculpture outside the National Gallery of Canada. Photo by James Peltzer via the OttawaStart Flickr pool.

As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is home to Canada’s premier museums, including the Canadian War Museum, the Museum of History (formerly the Museum of Civilization), and the National Art Gallery. Besides the national institutions, there are also a number of smaller local museums as well.

National Museums

  • Bank of Canada Currency Museum: Explore the evolution of money around the world and through the ages. A fascinating variety of media of exchange including shells, teeth, and cocoa beans, as well as today’s currency and payment systems.
  • Canada Agriculture Museum: This is a living museum, part of the historic Central Experimental Farm. A favourite with kids for all the barnyard animals.
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum: The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is recognized as having the most extensive aviation collection in Canada and one which ranks among the best in the world.
  • Canadian Museum of History: Canada’s national museum of cultural history and the most-visited museum in the country. The museum showcases the human history of Canada and the cultural diversity of its people. Many special exhibits and special events, and also home to Ottawa’s IMAX theatre. (Formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization.)
  • Canadian Photography Institute: A collection of photographs spanning more than forty years, from the 1960s to the present. It’s housed in the National Gallery.
  • Canadian Museum of Nature: Kids will probably know this one best as the “dinosaur museum” for its gallery of fossil skeletons. But there’s more: dazzling minerals and rocks, iconic mammals, countless birds, live creepy crawlies, live freshwater fish and marine creatures, a 19-metre real blue whale skeleton and a glowing exhibition on creatures that produce their own light.
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum: The Canada Science and Technology Museum provides a highly digital experience for the whole family – igniting visitors with a passion for science and inspiring the next generation of Canadian innovators.
  • National Gallery of Canada: One of the world’s most respected art institutions, renowned for its exceptional collections, revered for its scholarship, and applauded for its unique ability to engage audiences of all ages and all levels of artistic knowledge. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada is among the oldest of Canada’s national cultural institutions.
  • Canadian War Museum: Located in a spectacular building near LeBreton Flats, the museum presents Canada’s military past and how it shaped the country. Its outstanding exhibitions explain Canada’s rich military history from earliest times to the present, featuring the experiences of people on the battlefields and at home.

Local museums