Canadian Museum of Nature

  • The beautiful Victoria Memorial Museum Building is home to the Canadian Museum of Nature. The building, now a civic landmark, was designed by architect David Ewart, and completed in 1911.

    Photo: Martin Lipman

  • Canadian Museum of Nature educators deliver hands on opportunities for visitors and school groups to interact with nature.

    Photo: Martin Lipman

  • Director of The Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration, Dr. Jeff Saarela presses plant specimens collected during fieldwork in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut.

    Photo: Roger Bull

  • Adults and children alike marvel at the life-size dioramas in the Mammal Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Eight of the gallery’s majestic dioramas were created and painted by Manitoba wildlife artist Clarence Tillenius in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

    Photo: Martin Lipman

  • A young woman examines the skeleton of a horned dinosaur in the Museum’s Fossil Gallery. The Canadian Museum of Nature has one of the most extensive horned dinosaur collections in the world.

    Photo: Martin Lipman

  • Rockhounds love the Earth Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature, with more than 1,000 minerals on display. Contained within the museum’s national mineral collection are about 5,000 radioactive specimens, safely housed in a specially-designed vault.

    Photo: Martin Lipman

  • Among the most impressive specimens on display at the Museum is a complete skeleton of a juvenile blue whale in the Water Gallery.

    Photo: Martin Lipman

  • Museum palaeobiologist Dr. Jordan Mallon spends his summers searching for fossils like this hadrosaurid (Horned Dinosaur) leg bone he uncovered near Hilda, Alberta.

    Photo: Margaret Currie

BY THE NUMBERS

More than 520,000 people visited the Canadian Museum of Nature in 2016

Today, the Museum curates more than 14.6 million specimens which make up the National Natural History Collection of plants, animals, fossils and minerals

The Canadian Museum of Nature employs about 50 scientists, collections experts and technicians at its research and collection facility in Gatineau, Québec

To date, there have been more than 100 million digital downloads of National Natural History Collection data

230 volunteers and 130 staff assist with the delivery of the Museum’s programs

Mother Nature’s Display Case in the Nation’s Capital

The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada’s national museum dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of our natural world. In addition to its status as a cultural landmark in downtown Ottawa, the museum has built a global reputation for biodiversity research and baseline data collection, documenting the record of life across Canada and other parts of the world.

Visitors to the Museum are treated to one of the most stunning architectural jewels the nation’s capital has to offer. Built early in the 20th Century, and named the Victoria Memorial Museum Building in tribute to England’s Queen Victoria, the museum’s home at 240 McLeod Street lies exactly one mile south of Parliament Hill.

Today, after a massive six-year renovation to modernize the heritage building, the Canadian Museum of Nature is a model of efficient public space, with renewed galleries and complete with an eye-catching glass tower that was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth and dubbed the Queens’ Lantern.

A Mind-Boggling Collection of Specimens

While the Tudor-Gothic “castle”, home to Canada’s first national museum, is impressive, it is what is contained within that truly inspires the half-million people who visit each year.

With more than 14.6 million specimens in the National Natural History Collection, only a small portion of the museum’s collection is on public display. The incredible extent of a collection which includes more than one million plant specimens, 165,000 lots of molluscs, and 125,000 specimens of birds, has allowed curators to create awe-inspiring galleries. The Museum’s seven permanent galleries, each touching on a different aspect of natural history, are: Fossil, Earth, Water, Mammals, Insects, Birds, and the new Canada Goose Arctic Gallery.

Staff and volunteers specialize in making nature, in all of its diversity, of real and immediate relevance. And for more than 20 years, the Museum has offered an extensive curriculum-linked science education program with a variety of workshops, events and special projects to engage students in the science and wonder of nature. Teachers from around the world regularly access the Museum’s ready-made teaching materials, available in the “Teacher Zone” on nature.ca.

The Museum is also engaged in national outreach and recognition, best exemplified by the Nature Inspiration Awards – a national program that recognizes individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations that are inspiring Canadians to engage with the natural world.

Saving the world, to save the world

The National Natural History Collection curated by the Museum provides a benchmark of the geological and biological record of life on the planet – both in the past and the present. The specimens are physical evidence of what flora and fauna existed where and when. Study of the collections serve as a yardstick for changes over time – relevant for studies about climate change and biodiversity – key issues that the world must address for long-term sustainability. These are areas of focus for the Museum’s two centres of excellence in natural science research: The Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration, and The Beaty Centre for Species Discovery. Through national and international collaborations, these centres ensure the museum’s expertise, research and collections data are shared worldwide.   

“When it comes to Canada, its natural habitats and creatures great and small, the Canadian Museum of Nature is a remarkable repository that delights visitors today and will serve many generations to come,” says André Desmarais, Deputy Chairman, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation. “Power is a strong supporter of this national landmark.”

“We were formed with an important mandate to inspire understanding and respect for the natural world. While our purpose hasn’t changed, the world around us has. In this century, nature is more important and more challenged than ever and is now the focus of a multitude of international groups who share an interest in its possibilities and benefits,” says Meg Beckel, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Museum of Nature. “More than ever, we are sharing the evidence of nature over time through our collections, and studying that record to create a shared understanding of our natural world so that we can live in balance with it. The support from Power Corporation demonstrates their commitment to our aspiration, and for that we are grateful.”

When it comes to Canada, its natural habitats and creatures great and small, the Canadian Museum of Nature is a remarkable repository that delights visitors today and will serve many generations to come.
André Desmarais
Deputy Chairman,
President and Co-Chief Executive Officer
Power Corporation

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