8 Vancouver Museums Where You Can Learn About Local History

A tour group inside the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler

Photo: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre/Blake Jorgensen

Vancouver is a relatively young city at just 136 years old. However, we proudly celebrate our history. Explore 8 different Vancouver museums to learn about local history including sports, art, culture, and commerce.

Museum of Vancouver

The Museum of Vancouver takes you on a deep dive into our city’s history from 1900 to 1970. Don’t miss the Neon Vancouver Ugly Vancouver gallery which features dozens of historic signs. You can also learn about the history of Chinese immigration in the A Seat at the Table exhibit, indigenous Musqueam history in the c̓əsnaʔəm exhibit, and the relationship between people and forests in the That Which Sustains Us exhibit.

Where: 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver

Neon Vancouver exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver

Photo via Museum of Vancouver


Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

Learn about the culture, art, and tradition of the local Indigenous people at Whistler’s Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. Your experience beginners with a welcome song accompanied by a hand-drum. Follow a Squamish or Lil’wat cultural ambassador through the galleries to learn about their way of life.

Where: 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler

Interior of the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler

Photo via Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre


Roedde House Museum

The Roedde House Museum is a fully-restored Victorian home that dates back to 1893. Take a self-guided tour to see what day-to-day life was like for the Roedde family at the end of the 19th century. Unlike many heritage house museums, the rooms are not roped off, so you can easily step into history.

Where: 1415 Barclay Street, Vancouver

Exterior of the Roedde House Museum in Vancouver

Photo via Roedde House Museum


Britannia Mine Museum

Learn about British Columbia’s mining past at the Britannia Mine Museum near Squamish. You can ride an underground train, try gold panning, and wander through historic buildings.

Where: 1 Forbes Way, Britannia Beach

Underground tour at the Britannia Mine Museum

Photo via Britannia Mine Museum


Museum of Anthropology

Spend an afternoon strolling through displays of Northwest Coast First Nations art at the Museum of Anthropology. The collection includes carvings, weavings, and contemporary pieces. There are also beautiful Haida and Musequem totem poles on the grounds.

Where: 6393 North West Marine Drive, Vancouver

Bill Reid sculpture at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver

Photo: Museum of Anthropology/Goh Iromoto


BC Sports Hall of Fame

Located inside BC Place, the BC Sports Hall of Fame celebrates some of British Columbia’s greatest moments in sports including the 2010 Olympic Games, and the historic treks of Terry Fox and Rick Hansen. There is also a Participation Zone where you can break a sweat on the climbing wall, basketball court, and sprinting track.

Where: Gate A, 777 Pacific Boulevard South, Vancouver

Olympic exhibit at the BC Sports Hall of Fame

Phota via BC Sports Hall of Fame


Burnaby Village Museum

Step back in time to the 1920s at Burnaby Village Museum. This outdoor museum includes many local historic buildings including a blacksmith shop, print shop, general store, and farmhouse. Townsfolk in period costume give demonstrations too. Don’t miss the restored 1912 carousel.

Where: 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby

Buildings at the Burnaby Village Museum

Photo via Burnaby Village Museum


Vancouver Maritime Museum

Vancouver’s history is tied to the ocean. The Vancouver Maritime Museum includes lots of sea-focused exhibits including info about the local history of shipwrecks, lighthouses, fireboats, warships, and deep-ocean exploration. But the stand-out is the historic St. Roch, the first ship to traverse the Northwest Passage from west to east. You can climb onboard her decks to get a first-hand taste of what life was like in the Arctic in the 1940s.

Where: 1905 Ogden Avenue, Vancouver

Exterior of the Vancouver Maritime Museum

Photo via Vancouver Maritime Museum

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