Visiting museums and art galleries on vacation is one of the best ways to learn more about a new city and country. There are many museums in Vancouver that specialize in everything from anthropology to local history to the sea. Here are the top museums you should visit in Vancouver.
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
“Like no place on earth.” The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is where people can become educated on astronomy through live demonstrations, exhibitions, and shows. Inside, there’s the Planetarium Star Theatre, Groundstation Canada Theatre, Cosmic Courtyard Gallery and Exhibit Space, and GMS Observatory, which is home to a half-meter Cassegrain telescope, with which visitors can observe Vancouver’s skies.
Vancouver Police Museum
The Vancouver Police Museum is North America’s oldest police museum. The Vancouver Historical Society operates the museum, which sits in a heritage building that was previously the Coroner’s Court and the city’s morgue, crime laboratory, and autopsy facilities. There are over 20,000 documents, photos, and artifacts inside the Vancouver Police Museum, which visitors can learn more about through a self-guided tour. Check out their Movies in the Morgue events too, if you dare!
Vancouver Police Museum, 240 E Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 604 665 3346
BC Sports Hall of Fame
“Since 1966, the community has entrusted the BC Sports Hall of Fame with the responsibility to collect, preserve, study and interpret materials that relate to British Columbia’s rich sport history.” BC Sports Hall of Fame sits within BC Place in Vancouver and educates the public on British Columbia residents and their outstanding achievement in sports. Each year, a few select individuals are inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame too.
Vancouver Maritime Museum
Established in 1959, the Vancouver Maritime Museum has preserved and shared maritime history stories from the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Arctic region. Its main exhibit is St. Roch, which is a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police Arctic exploration vessel. There’s also a model ships gallery, Children’s Maritime Discovery Centre, and a maritime art collection. Outside the museum, visitors will find Ben Franklin, a NASA undersea research vessel.
Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1905 Ogden Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 604 257 8300
Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology, recognized for both its exterior design and collections inside, sits on the University of British Columbia’s picturesque campus. Canadian architect Arthur Erickson designed the museum’s award-winning building, which houses one of the world’s finest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations Art plus 535,000 archaeological objects. Its current exhibition, Amazonia: The Rights of Nature, features Amazonian artwork.
Museum of Anthropology, 6393 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 604 822 5087
Science World “features hundreds of interactive exhibits in five galleries.” It’s run by a non-profit organization, which aims to inspire future science and technology leadership in British Columbia. Science World is one of Vancouver’s most impressive buildings, but it’s just as unique inside. It’s home to the OMNIMAX® Theatre, local science-inspired art displays, the BodyWorks gallery, Eureka! and its hands-on exhibits, and the Ken Spencer Science Park.
Roedde House Museum
In West End, visitors and residents alike will find the restored heritage house that is the Roedde House Museum. Built in 1893 for the city’s first bookbinder, Gustav Roedde and his family, the late Victorian home has 11 rooms that reflect their day-to-day life, with period pieces (including some from the Roedde family) and artifacts, some of which guests may handle with care. The museum also offers guided Tea and Tour Sundays.
Roedde House Museum, 1415 Barclay Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 604 684 7040
Burnaby Village Museum
Located in the Greater Vancouver Area, Burnaby Village Museum is a historic open-air museum spread out over 10 acres. It represents a typical 1920s community, with a blacksmith, general store, ice cream parlor, and print shop. People are dressed in period costumes and give demonstrations throughout the village. There’s also a CW Parker Carousel from 1912 and the restored Interurban Tram #1223. Children will love the Adventure Guide, which is available at the gates.
Burnaby Village Museum, 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, BC, Canada, +1 604 297 4565
Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Beaty Biodiversity Museum is also located at the University of British Columbia and is Vancouver’s only natural history museum. There are over 500 interactive exhibits and displays, which include more than two million specimens. Its crowning jewel is its 26-meter-long (85 feet) blue whale skeleton, which is the largest display of its kind in Canada. There’s also a permanent Timeline Exhibit, where you can “walk along 4.54 billion years of history.”
Museum of Vancouver
The Museum of Vancouver in Vanier Park focuses on the city’s history from the First Nations until today. It includes a large collection of First Nations artwork and artifacts, and permanent exhibitions include 1930s–1940s: Boom, Bust and War; 1960s–1970s: You Say You Want a Revolution; and Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver. The museum’s mission is to inspire a deeper understanding of Vancouver through stories, objects, and shared experiences.
Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 604 736 4431