The Halifax area has 33 museums, reflecting its Maritime location, cultural diversity, and military history. See also, Halifax's attractions, galleries and parks.
Presenting hundreds of artifacts reflecting Atlantic Canada's military heritage, this museum is located in the Cavalier Barracks of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. Open daily May 7 to Oct. 31, off-season by appointment. Free admission (Admission fee to Citadel in summer).
Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum
Exit 6, Hwy. 102 near the airport
Many civilian and military aircraft are on display, as well as artifacts and exhibits depicting Atlantic Canadian aviation history, including a replica of the Silver Dart. The original, developed by Alexander Graham Bell and associates, made the first flight in the British Empire, from Bras d'Or Lake, NS, in 1909. Open daily 9am to 5pm, mid-May to mid-Oct., by appointment year-round. Admission by donation.
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
1 Challenger Dr., Dartmouth
(Take the Shannon Park exit, at the Dartmouth end of MacKay Bridge)
Canada's largest oceanographic research centre is open Mon. through Fri. 9am to 4pm. A self-guided exhibit requiring about 45 minutes to visit and consisting of displays, audio-visual presentations and small aquariums.Visit the Sea Pavilion which houses touch tanks and viewing tanks containing native marine species). Guided tours in English and French are available by appointment May through August to organized groups: The institute is open year-round. Free admission. Allow 45 minutes.
Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia
1149 Main St., Dartmouth
434-6223 / 1-800-465-0767
The first site of its kind in Canada, this museum, cultural and education centre is dedicated to the preservation, protection and promotion of African Canadian history in Nova Scotia. It houses history archives, static and audio visual displays, a library and an amphitheatre for cultural performances and lectures. Guided and self-guided tours. Open year-round, Mon. to Fri. 9am to 5pm. May-Sept., Sat. 10am to 4pm. Admission fee.
Bluenose II Maritime Museum
1675 Lower Water St (at Prince), Halifax
(902) 634-1963 or toll-free 1-800-763-1963.
The Bluenose II is a replica of the original Bluenose schooner, and is docked at the Halifax wharf when not on tour. Bluenose II is Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador and is Canada's best known boat. Originally build in 1921 at Lunenburg the Bluenose has become nearly as familiar a Canadian symbol as the maple leaf as it is even depicted on the Canadian dime. The Bluenose II was launched in 1963 and offers 2-hour harbour sailing tours. You can tour this wonderful boat when docked.
Cole Harbour Heritage Farm
471 Poplar Drive, Cole Harbour, Dartmouth B2W 4L2
Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum showcases large gardens, heritage buildings (dating back to the early 1780s), live animals and a tearoom onsite. The site adjoins numerous walkways through a natural marsh and woodland walk. Free parking, free admission and picnic area. Take part in crafts or farm-related activities and demonstrations. Young people will enjoy seeing the various animals, adults learn about the local history. Open May 15 to Oct. 15, Mon-Sat 10-4 , Sun&Holidays 12-4
Costume Studies Museum
Carleton House, 1685 Argyle St., Halifax
This small museum located in an historic residential building displays the work of students of the Dalhousie Costume Studies program. Costumes are based on records of early residents of Halifax. The gift shop features historically inspired articles of clothing. Open Mon. to Fri. 11am to 4pm May to Sept., by appointment from Sept. to April.
Dalhousie University Archives
Killam Memorial Library, University Ave, Halifax
Research centre includes material on Dalhousie University, theatre, business, music, labour and Nova Scotia shipping, as well as collections of private manuscripts including papers of creative writers and photographs. Open Mon. to Fri. from 9am to noon, and 1pm to 5pm.
Dartmouth Heritage Museum
100 Wyse Rd., Dartmouth
Utilizing a broad range of exhibits, interprets Dartmouth and area's natural, historical and cultural heritage. Archival reference services are available by appointment. June, July and August - open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. September to May - open Wednesday through Saturday from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm. Admission free, donations welcomed.
1593 Barrington St., Halifax
This science centre presents more than 80 hands-on exhibits to illuminate and entertain with educational principles of bridges, electricity, chemistry, bubbles, light and sound, health, physics, optical illusions and more. Changing exhibits, workshops and busker-style science shows. Open Mon. to Sat. 10am to 5pm, Sun. 1 to 5pm and until 9 pm the first Thursday of every month. Allow 1 hour. Adults: $7.50 Child/Youth: $5.00 Seniors: $6.50.
Evergreen Historic House
26 Newcastle St., Dartmouth
Built in 1867 for Dr Helen Creighton, noted Nova Scotia author and folklorist, Evergreen is a fine example of a mid-Victorian "gentleman's residence." The main floor of the house is decorated with Victorian furnishings and selected art works. Enjoy a guided tour of this fine Victorian mansion with its magnificent view of the harbour. Open June to August - Tuesday through Sunday 10:00am - 1:00pm and 2:00pm - 5:00pm. Donations welcomed.
Fisherman's Life Museum
Hwy. 7, 58 Navy Pool Loop Rd., Jeddore Oyster Pond
This tiny house and gardens have been preserved just as they were at the turn of the century when this was the home of an inshore fisherman, his wife and their 13 daughters. Open June 1 to Oct. 15, Mon. to Sat. 9:30am to 5:30pm, Sun. 1 to 5:30pm.
Fultz House Museum
33 Sackville Dr., Lower Sackville
Located in a house dating back to 1860, the museum displays photographs and artifacts relating to Sackville as a growing community. On the property is a blacksmith shop and a cooperage shop with tools, an 1865 horse-drawn hearse and a 1777 rug loom. Open July 1 to Sept. 15, Mon. to Thurs. 10am to 5pm, Fri. to Sun. 10am to 8pm.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
Citadel Hill, Entrance off Sackville St., Halifax
Operated by Parks Canada, the Citadel is now one of Canada's most visited national historic sites. It features exhibits, audio-visual presentations, guided tours, the noon gun and the 78th Highland Regiment. The Citadel, a large star-shaped masonry fort built between 1826 and 1856, was the heart of the city's fortifications and was linked to smaller forts and gun emplacements on the harbour islands and on the bluffs above the harbour entrance. Although never attacked, the fort was used by the British until 1906, and by the Canadians until after World War II. The fort features a musketry gallery, a dry defensive ditch, vaulted rooms, restored ramparts and commanding view of Halifax and the harbour.
The Town Clock, closed to the public is also on Citadel Hill. The clock, with four sides, was built in 1800 to prevent tardiness, and is used to set the noon gun, by which ships in turn set their clocks for 200 years.
Exhibits include the defense casemate, detention cell, library, barrack rooms, signal masts, and a 50 minute audio-visual presentation "Fortress Halifax - Warden of the North." Kilted soldiers of the 1869 78th Highland Regiment of Foot drill in front of the Army Museum, once the barracks, and a cannon is fired every day at noon. Before leaving, take in the breathtaking views from the Citadel.Open July-Aug., daily 9-6; Sept.-June 14, daily 9-5 Grounds open daily year-round, 9am to 5pm. Allow two hours. Admission fee June- Oct; rest of year free.
1675 Lower Water St., Halifax
429-2132, 427-0550, ext. 2837
This World War II convoy escort corvette has been restored as a floating naval memorial to the courage and sacrifice of all who served in Canada's navy. Immediately adjacent is an Interpretation Centre with a multi-media presentation. Open in summer. Free admission.
Maritime Command Museum, Archives, Library
Admiralty House, Gottingen Street at CFB Halifax.
(5 blocks north of Citadel Hill)
427-0550, ext. 8250
History of the Canadian maritime military forces, especially in Halifax. Displays include scale models of ships, weapons, photographs and uniforms. Allow 30 minutes. Open year round, Mon. to Fri. 10am to 3:30 pm. Closed holidays. Free admission.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
1675 Lower Water St (at Prince), Halifax
902/424-7490 or 902/424-7491
Nautical and marine history of Atlantic Canada including the Halifax Explosion, an early shipchandlery, Days of Sail gallery, small craft gallery and a lighthouse light. CSS Acadia, a 1913 hydrographic research vessel that charted the coasts of Labrador and the Arctic, is moored outside (open May through October) as is HMCS Sackville, the sole survivor of WWII corvette convoys escorts from Halifax to England during World War II. The museum also has a permanent exhibit about the Titanic disaster with 20 artifacts (the only surviving deck chair ) and dozens of photographs. The Museum open year round. Museum hours: May and October - Mon. to Sat. 9:30am to 5:30pm, Tues. to 8pm, Sun. 1pm to 5:30pm. June to September - Mon. to Sat. 9:30am to 5:30pm, Tues. to 8pm, Sun. 10:30am to 5:30pm. November to April - closed Mondays, otherwise open 9:30am to 5pm, and Tues. to 8pm. Admission fee; Free Admission on Tuesdays 5 to 8 pm, Canada Day, Natal Day.
Moose River Gold Mines Museum
Mooseland Road, from Rte. 224 near Elmsvale or from Rte. 7 east of Tangier
Collection of gold mining artifacts and first-hand information about the famous mine disaster of 1936, from which the live radio broadcastsbecame North America's first "media event" and changed the course of radio in Canada. Nearby Moose River Gold Mines Provincial Park preserves the location of the cave-in and rescue. Open in summer.
Musquodoboit Railway Museum
Housed in the former 1918 Canadian National Railway Station. Traces the history of the railway and early development of this region, with a collection that includes five railway cars, photographs, maps, posters, tickets, artifacts (such as baggage wagons and a sled), a small library and gift shop. Open mid-May to October.
Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management
Public Archives, 6016 University Ave., Halifax
Holdings include inactive records of government departments and corporate bodies (churches, businesses, organizations, municipalities and communities); papers of families and individuals; a 70,000-title library; newspapers; genealogical sources; documentary art and photographs; maps and architectural plans, and sound recordings and moving images. Open Mon. to Fri. 8:30am to 4:30pm, Sat. 9am to 5pm, closed Sundays, holidays and holiday weekends.
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer St. (off Bell Rd), Halifax
Located on the ground floor of the Seton Academic Centre, this museum features the natural wonders of Nova Scotia. See an eagle's nest, stand beside a moose, and a real whale skeleton. Displays cover geology, botany, mammals, birds and marine life, archaeology and impressive Mi'kmaq quillwork. See fossils (including a mastodon skeleton) , mineral specimens, semi-precious gems, dioramas and a botany gallery. Open June 1 to October 15, Mon. to Sat. 9:30am to 5:30pm, Wed. to 8pm, Sun. 1pm to 5:30pm. Winter hours: closed Mondays, otherwise open until 5pm, Wed. to 8pm. Admission fee June to Oct.
Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame (pictured above)
1645 Granville St., Ste. 101, Halifax
Nova Scotia's sport heritage: artifacts, exhibits and hundreds of photographs dating back to the 1850s. Interactive computer programs, miniature hockey rink and basketball court. Open Mon. to Fri. 10:30am to 4pm, Sat. and Sun. noon to 3pm. Bookings for meetings and receptions. Free admission.
Old Hall Wilderness Heritage Centre
4694 Hwy. 7, Porters Lake
Dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the cultural and natural history of the Porters Lake area. Displays focus on wilderness heritage, natural history and outdoor recreational opportunities. Open mid-May to mid-Sept.
1055 Marginal Rd., South End Halifax
This National Historic Site is the last remaining immigration shed in Canada, though which from 1928 until 1971 close to a million immigrants, refugees, war brides and children began their lives as Canadians. Going the other way, almost 500,000 Canadian troops departed for WW II. Artifacts and interactive multi-media technology preserve this heritage. Allow two hours. COST: $6.50. June-Sept., daily 9-6; Oct.-May, Tues.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. noon-5.
Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site
Point Pleasant Park (south end of Tower Road or Point Pleasant Drive, Halifax.)
This 1796 fortress was built by one-time Halifax resident Duke of Kent, who was the father of Queen Victoria. The round stone structure, its height three times its width, was the prototype for new British coastal defences against Napoleon Bonaparte's forces. Exhibits feature the tower's history, architecture and defences. Allow 30minutes. Open daily 9 am to dusk from June 15 to October 29. Free admission.
Rev. M.W. Burke-Gaffney Observatory
Saint Mary's University, Robie at Inglis Streets, Halifax
Free public tours if weather is clear on the first and third Sat. of each month year round, and every Sat. June through Sept.
Royal Canadian Legion Military Museum
Royal Canadian Legion Somme Branch 31,
52 King St., Dartmouth
Displays include uniforms and items from the Boer War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Open between May and Nov., Mon., Wed. and Fri. from 1pm to 5 pm. Open special occasions by request. Admission by donation.
Scott Manor House Museum
15 Fort Sackville Rd.( just off Shore Drive) in Bedford
Located on a hill overlooking the Bedford Basin, the 1770 mansion is the oldest two-storey gambrel-roofed mansion of Colonial design in Canada. See artifacts and material relating to the heritage of the house and the adjacent Fort Sackville site, and surrounding community. Open daily for tea and tours, 2 to 4pm in July and August, and other times for special events. Free admission, donations welcome.
Shearwater Aviation Museum
13 Bonaventure Ave., 12 Wing Shearwater
(take Rte. 322 toward Eastern Passage)
Displays Canadian maritime military aviation equipment, uniforms, aircraft and photos, of the 12th Wing as it evolved at Shearwater air base through USN, RCAF, RCN and Canadian Forces eras. June to Aug., open Tues. to Fri. 10am to 5pm, Sat. and Sun. noon to 4pm; Sept. to Nov. and April to May, open Tues. to Thurs. 10am to 5pm, Sat. noon to 4pm. Other times by appointment. Gift shop open year round. Free admission.
Shubenacadie Canal, Fairbanks Visitor Centre
54 Locks Rd., Dartmouth;
(off the Waverley Rd., 2 km from junction of Hwy 111 and Hwy. 318)
Following an ancient Mi'kmaq route across Nova Scotia, this 115 km (71 mile) long 19th-century canal links a series of lakes and rivers between Halifax Harbour and the Bay of Fundy. It operated as a waterway for sailing and steam ships between 1856 and 1870. The remains of an 1820s canal camp dot the walking paths; an archaeology tour is available. The story of this National Historic Civil Engineering Site is told at the Visitor Centre, which has a model of a working lock, picnic area, canoe/paddleboat/kayak rentals and 30 minute long 12-passenger pontoon boat tours. Allow about half an hour to visit (Open daily late May to early Sept., and weekdays by appointment only in winter),
The 2.5 km wooded trails of Shubie Canal Park, beside the Centre, is also a favourite with walkers, joggers and, in winter, cross-country skiers.
Lock 1 can be seen in Dartmouth between Sullivan's Pond and Lake Banook. Restored Locks 2 and 3 are beside the Fairbanks Centre. Remains of an inclined plane are visible at Porto Bello, Rte. 318. Follow Hwy. 2 up the lakes to pass Lock 4 in Fall River with interpretation panels, remains of 19th-century lock, walking path), Lock 5 in a small park at Wellington (with reconstructed granite lock, interpretation panels) and Lock 6, Enfield (walking trail, remains of 19th-century lock).
Thomas McCulloch Museum
Biology Department, Life Sciences Centre,
Dalhousie University, Halifax
150 year old exhibit of mounted Nova Scotia birds of prepared by Thomas McCulloch: collection of lifelike ceramic mushrooms created by Alma and Ernst Lorenzen of Lantz; collections of butterflies and seashells. Open year-round, Mon. to Fri. 8:30am to 4:30pm. Closed major holidays, Admission free.
Waverley Heritage Museum
1319 Rocky Lake Dr., Waverley
861-1436 or 861-2427
Displays on gold mining and the Acadia Powder Company; photographs of past residents and scenes. Open daily 9am to 5pm in the summer. Also open by arrangement.
William Ray Quaker House
57-59 Ochterloney St., Dartmouth
A short walk from the Dartmouth Ferry Terminal, Quaker (William Ray) House is open during the summer months, with costumed guides. Built in 1786 by Quaker whalers from Nantucket, it is authentically restored and furnished. Costumed guides will show you this charming 18th century home; occasional craft demonstrations by local artisans. Open June to August - Tuesday through Sunday 10 am - 1:00pm and 2 pm - 5 pm. Admission free, donations welcomed.
York Redoubt National Historic Site
13 km (8 mi) on Purcell's Cove Road (Rte. 253)
25 minutes from downtown Halifax
York Redoubt was part of the extensive British defence system of Halifax, overlooking the entrance to the harbour and McNab's Island. Parts of the fort date back to 1793; and the large cannon are from the 1860s. The fort was used to train Canadian troops during World War I, and was headquarters of Halifax defences during World War II. Exhibits include the masigned rifled muzzle-loading guns and photographs in Interpretive Centre. Visit the Command Post, built during the Second World War, when the site was the nerve centre for Halifax's harbour defences. Enjoy a picnic among the birch trees, and walk along panoramic coastal trails. Open seven days a week. Interpretive centre open mid-June to Labour Day 9 am to 6 pm. Admission free. Allow one to three hours.