Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, is a hub for culture and creativity. The city is home to some of the best museums and art galleries in the country. Whether you are an art lover, a history buff, or just looking for a fun outing with your family, Ottawa has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore some of the best museums and art galleries in Ottawa.
National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is a must-visit destination for any art lover. The gallery houses a vast collection of Canadian and international art, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and prints. The building itself is a work of art, designed by Moshe Safdie, and the gallery is home to several significant pieces, including the world’s largest collection of Canadian art. Some of the most famous pieces in the gallery include Tom Thomson’s “The Jack Pine” and Emily Carr’s “Big Raven.” The National Gallery of Canada is open daily, and admission is free on Thursdays.
Canadian Museum of History
The Canadian Museum of History is one of the most popular museums in Ottawa, attracting more than 1.2 million visitors each year. The museum explores the history and culture of Canada and features several exhibits, including the Canadian History Hall, which tells the story of Canada’s history from the earliest human habitation to the present day. The museum also features the First Peoples Hall, which explores the history and culture of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Other exhibits include the Canadian Children’s Museum, which is a hands-on learning experience for children, and the CINÉ+ Theatre, which features daily screenings of documentaries and films. The Canadian Museum of History is open daily, and admission is free on Thursdays.
Canadian War Museum
The Canadian War Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in military history. The museum features exhibits on Canada’s military history from the earliest conflicts to the present day, including World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The museum also features exhibits on Canada’s peacekeeping efforts, as well as its involvement in more recent conflicts. The Canadian War Museum is open daily, and admission is free on Thursdays.
The Ottawa Art Gallery
The Ottawa Art Gallery is a contemporary art museum that showcases the work of artists from Ottawa and across Canada. The gallery features several exhibitions each year, and its permanent collection includes more than 1,100 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations. The Ottawa Art Gallery also offers several programs, including artist talks, tours, and workshops. The gallery is open daily, and admission is free.
The Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature is a natural history museum that explores the natural world, from dinosaurs to the present day. The museum features several exhibits, including the Earth Gallery, which explores the history of the planet, and the Bird Gallery, which features a collection of over 10,000 bird specimens. The Canadian Museum of Nature also offers several programs, including guided tours, workshops, and lectures. The museum is open daily, and admission is free on Thursdays.
The Bytown Museum
The Bytown Museum is a small museum located in Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market. The museum explores the history of Ottawa, from its earliest days as a small lumber town to its present-day status as the capital of Canada. The museum features several exhibits, including a collection of artifacts from Ottawa’s early days and a replica of the Ottawa River in the 1800s. The Bytown Museum is open daily, and admission is free on Thursdays.
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but it’s worth mentioning in this guide to Ottawa’s museums and galleries because it tells the story of Canadian immigration, and Ottawa is a city with a rich immigrant history. The museum features several exhibits that explore the experiences of immigrants who arrived in Canada through Pier 21 in Halifax, including their stories of resilience and adaptation. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 also offers several programs, including guided tours and educational workshops. The museum is open daily, and admission fees vary.
In addition to these museums and galleries, Ottawa is also home to several public art installations, including the Ottawa Art Gallery’s public art program and the City of Ottawa’s Public Art Program. These installations can be found throughout the city and are free to view.
Ottawa is a city that celebrates culture and creativity through its museums and galleries. Whether you are interested in art, history, or natural sciences, Ottawa has something for everyone. So, if you’re planning a visit to the city, make sure to add these museums and galleries to your itinerary for a memorable and enriching experience.