Infamous for its frequent rain, there’s a good chance you’ll see some inclement weather in Vancouver if you’re visiting between October and March. The breathtaking scenery and incredible outdoor activities are one of the main highlights people look forward to when planning a visit here but they’re hardly the only thing Vancouver has to offer. This bustling city was built on a rich and interesting history and it has an endless number of incredible stories to tell. Whether you’re in Vancouver during the rainy season or you just love to gander upon relics of the past, add some of these intriguing museums to your itinerary and gain some insight into Vancouver’s art, history, and even science.
Museum of Vancouver
The Museum of Vancouver is a non-profit organization that strives to connect both locals and tourists to the city, to each other, and to the rest of the world. Using stories, exhibits, and experiences, the museum creates an engaging environment that provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the city. Their current exhibitions, until January 2020, include “Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives” and “Haida Now: A Visual Feast of Innovation and Tradition”.
Beaty Biodiversity Museum
For nature and biology lovers, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is an incredible natural history museum with over 500 exhibits housed within 20,000 square feet of exhibit space. Their 26 metre long blue whale skeleton is a stunning sight to behold, suspended from the ceiling of the atrium. You can get hands-on on the Allan Yap Discovery Lab, explore the various interactive activities, or peruse the many plant, mammal, and reptile fossils they have on display. If you’re visiting between November 21, 2019 – April 19, 2020, check out their upcoming sculpture exhibition, “Documents of Collapse”.
Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology is filled with local art and artifacts as well as pieces from around the world. Their exhibitions encourage the understanding of cultural diversity and special attention is paid to First Nations art and history. The Great Hall, one of their permanent exhibitions, is a wide open space filled with sculptures, canoes, and textiles from the people of the Northwest Coast. You’ll also see the multiversity galleries with collections of thousands of different pieces from around the world, as well as the Bill Reid Rotunda, a collection of Haida works by artist Bill Reid.
Vancouver Police Museum
Museums can also come with plenty of thrills and chills. The Vancouver Police Museum will take you through the sordid history of crime in Vancouver, all the way from the prohibition era up to modern day policing, justice, and community initiatives. You’ll see the True Crimes exhibit, the Behind the Lines traffic exhibit, the weapons showcase, and for those brave enough, you can tour through the former city morgue and autopsy suite.
Vancouver Maritime Museum
The Vancouver Maritime Museum has been preserving Pacific Northwest and Arctic maritime history since 1959. The museum features galleries of model ships and maritime art, along with a Children’s Maritime Discovery Centre for the youngest of sea lovers. Their main exhibit, the St. Roch, is an historic RCMP arctic exploration vessel which can be boarded by visitors, allowing you to walk the decks, explore the cabins, and even take the helm.
Telus World of Science
You don’t need to be a science geek, or even a kid, to appreciate the amazing exhibits you’ll see at Telus World of Science. This science centre is a geodesic dome that sits on the shores of False Creek, making it one of Vancouver’s most recognizable landmarks. Their permanent exhibitions include BodyWorks, an exploration into the human body, Eukera!, a massive space filled with countless interactive stations, and the Peter Brown Family Centre Stage, home to live science shows with plenty of audience interaction. On the top floor you’ll find the Omnimax Theatre, a film experience so immersive you’ll feel like you’re flying, running, or travelling through space right along with the narrator as you gaze up at the massive wrap around screen.
Britannia Mine Museum
A trip to the Britannia Mine Museum will show you just how interesting mining can be. The museum was opened in 1975 as a way to preserve BC’s extensive mining history, as well as a way to teach the public about mining. The museum definitely keeps its visitors engaged and entertained with their underground train tours, gorgeous mineral galleries, gold panning pavillion, and “BOOM!”, their newest live action experience with thrilling lights and thunderous sounds.
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
Founded in 1968, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is an astronomy museum that brings its visitors closer to the mysteries and wonders of the Universe. Experience an incredible show of planets, meteor showers, nebulas, black holes, and galaxies in the Planetarium Star Theatre. You can also watch the live science shows in the GroundStation Canada Theatre or get hands-on with space suits, meteorites, moon rocks, and other neat stuff in the Cosmic Courtyard Gallery.
Comox Air Force Museum
The Comox Air Force Museum is a Canadian Forces Museum dedicated to preserving and displaying Canada’s West Coast Military Aviation History. In the main gallery you can take a self guided tour the aviation history of WWI, WWII, Korea, and the Cold War. You can try out the CF-101 Voodoo ejection seat or get an up close view of an Argus Wright 3350. Head over to the Heritage Air Park, open from April to September, to see the many planes of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Burnaby Village Museum
The Burnaby Village Museum provides visitors with a real life experience of the early 1900s. Costumed townspeople roam the street and show guests what life was like in the various homes and shops within the village. You can stroll over to the blacksmith, get a demonstration at the print shop, or peruse the wares of the General Store. You can even take a ride on the restored 1912 C.W. Parker Carousel or board the beautiful Interurban tram #1223.
The museums around Vancouver will teach you about this city’s colorful past, introduce you to local art, and allow you to experience a forgotten time. You can pop into one of these places to escape the rain and you’ll find yourself completely awed by the incredible exhibits you’ve stumbled upon. Admission is usually very affordable for any of these attractions so go ahead and plan an entire tour around Vancouver, absorb the wisdom and culture of the past, and develop a deeper understanding of this amazing city.