5 Museums to visit in Ottawa for an Escape into History

What museums are open in Ottawa and why you should visit them

With its rich legacy of politics & culture, and the government’s strong presence, the capital city of Canada, Ottawa has many stories to tell. But where do you start listening? Do you start with a guided tour of the city? Or do you go to the museums first?

If you choose to start with the museums in Ottawa, you might wonder –  ‘Can museums open?’ or ‘What museums are open in Ottawa?’

We are here to answer these questions for you, and also provide a roadmap for discovering the rich legacy of the city and its various institutions which help visitors learn about the past of Canada, and it’s capital city of Ottawa.

These institutions will provide you with the necessary insights required for a better understanding of the country and its glorious historical archives. So, without further ado, let’s start exploring these marvelous museums.

1. Canadian Museum of Nature

Housed in the Victoria Memorial Museum, the Canadian Museum of Nature is a natural history museum, spread across 203,500 square feet. Originally established in 1856 by the Geological Survey of Canada, the museum was first based in Montreal until 1911, after which it was relocated to the current space. The institution later expanded into anthropology and human history and was renamed in 1927.

Dinosaur exhibit at a museum of natural history

The museum contains over 14.6 million exhibits and specimens related to the natural world, which are sure to astound you and make you appreciate the beauty and abundance of Mother Nature.

From dinosaur skeletons, live sea creatures, fossils, and taxidermied ice age creatures to present-day birds, mammals, and insects, the museum’s vast collection of natural wonders will keep you busy for the whole day.

2. Canadian War Museum

A tribute to the countless contributions of Canada’s military, the Canadian War Museum is the country’s national museum of military history which focuses on the study and understanding of armed conflict.

The Museum’s exhibits, galleries, and public programs bring the experience of war to its visitors through the eyes of soldiers in the midst of war. Here you will get to experience the defining moments of Canada’s military history and how the wars in the past have shaped the country.

Tank exhibit at a war museum

The Canadian War Museum’s collections include rare vehicles, medals, uniforms, artillery, personal memoirs, and over 14,000 works of war art. Their total collection comprises more than 3 million specimens, artifacts, documents, and audio & video recordings.

After visiting this museum, you will most likely garner higher respect for military personnel, not just from the Canadian Army, but for armed forces from all around the world.

3. Canada Science & Technology Museum

Get to know the scientific and technological heritage of the nation at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. With a mandate to preserve and promote the country’s contributions in the fields of science and technology, this museum in Canada, which is housed in a 13,458 square meter building, will surely make you go ‘Wow’.

The museum’s collection constitutes over 20,000 artifact sets along with 60,000 individual exhibits and 80,000 photographs. It boasts of housing the largest collection of scientific and technological artifacts in the country. The items in their collection date from the 12th century to the present day.

Old camera exhibit at a museum for science and technology

By looking at the technological past of this great nation, you will come to realize why Canada is considered by many, to be one of the most successful countries in the world. You also might have to come down for a second trip, in case you are not able to go through all the exhibits in one go.

4. National Gallery of Canada

Be prepared to be mesmerized by some of the finest and most varied pieces of art in the country. Canada’s national museum of art, the National Gallery of Canada is one of the largest art museums in North America, in terms of exhibition space.

Their permanent collection includes over 93,000 works from Indigenous, Asian, Canadian, European, and American artists. The museum’s huge variety of collections includes paintings, photographs, sculptures, and works on paper.

Art exhibit at an Art museum

The National Gallery of Canada is also the largest lender of artwork in the country, which sends out almost 800 pieces of art each year. The museum’s drawings and prints constitute 27,000 works on paper that date from the 15th century to the present day. Their collection also includes 10,000 prints and 2,500 drawings from Asian, American, and European artists.

5. Canada Aviation & Space Museum

Do you have a desire to float in space? Or would you want to fly above the clouds? Well, you might not be able to do those things in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, but hey, you will get to learn loads about the history of aviation and space studies here.

Get to know about Canada’s contributions to aviation and aerospace technology, through a collection of more than 130 aircraft and artifacts. These would be from both civil and military service. Considered by many to be one of the finest aviation museums in the world, it also houses the most extensive aviation collection in Canada.

A war plan exhibit at a war museum

One of the museum’s highlights is the largest surviving pieces of the Avro Arrow, the Lancaster bomber from World War 2, and the original Canadarm used on the Endeavour space shuttle. Here, you can also enjoy interactive activities on the science of flight, explore films and demonstrations, and also take guided tours.

As you walk out of these monumental institutions, that have been preserving the country’s cultural wealth, you will grow in appreciation of all that Canada has achieved and continues to achieve. Make sure to check out the pubs and restaurants near the museums, either before or after your visit, using SpotEv’s experience discovery service.

You can also browse through our blogs to discover (or re-discover) more such experiences all around Canada and the world. As you keep on discovering, you’ll start to feel richer and fuller. You can make this journey much easier with SpotEv.



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