Canada’s Oldest and Largest Maritime Museum

6388157-Maritime_Museum_of_the_Atlantic_HalifaxThe Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is the oldest and largest Maritime Museum in Canada. The original concept of the Museum can be credited to a group of Royal Canadian Navy officers who envisioned a maritime museum where relics of Canada’s naval past could be conserved.

Starting with a small space at the Halifax Dockyard in 1948, the museum moved then moved to quarters in the Halifax Citadel in 1952, and became the Maritime Museum of Canada in 1957.

Floods and fires in the early 1960s caused temporary relocations to a variety of sites until 1965, when a home was found in a former bakery building at the Navy’s Victualling Depot. The Museum became the Marine History section of the Nova Scotia Museum in 1967.0056

The exhibits remained on Citadel Hill while the offices, library and some of the collection moved to the new Nova Scotia Museum building on Summer Street in Halifax in 1970. Through the 1970s, a long search for a permanent home ensued.

Model of the Titanic on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax

Finally, in 1982, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic was established on the site of the Robertson & Son Ship Chandlery and A.M. Smith and Co. Properties on the Halifax Waterfront. It opened on January 22 of that year. Since then, more than 4 million people have visited the Museum.


Shoes from the Titanic

The Museum is a valuable historical, cultural and educational institution. It is the largest site in Nova Scotia that collects and interprets various elements of Nova Scotia’s marine history. Visitors are introduced to the age of steamships, local small craft, the Royal Canadian and Merchant Navies, World War II convoys and The Battle of the Atlantic, the Halifax Explosion of 1917, and Nova Scotia’s role in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster.

Conserving our Maritime Heritage

0056The collection of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, a part of the Nova Scotia Museum, represents the marine history of Nova Scotia and those regions or subjects that are considered significant or of interest to the people of Nova Scotia. The collection belongs to the people of Nova Scotia and is largely developed through the generosity of many individuals.

cdg585The Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian merchant marine, Nova Scotia small craft and shipwrecks are subjects well represented in the collection, much of which dates from 1850 to the present. The collection includes over 24,000 artifacts, most of which are on display. They can be found in gallery exhibits and in several specialized display areas.

Visible Storage allows you to view hundreds of artifacts including sailors’ souvenirs, tableware, lanterns, Canadian Naval ships badges, octants, sextants and telescopes.

add-a-captionThe Museum’s collection of 20,000 photographs, its vessel plans and nautical charts are housed in, and accessible through, the Museum’s library.

The Museum has the largest collection of ship portraits in Canada with over 300 ship portraits of ships such as the Barque John A. Harvie.12442

The Museum also has an important small craft collection displayed in The Small Craft Galleryand two Boat Sheds. Currently under restoration is the C Class sloop, Whim.

Other notable artifacts in the Museum collection include the First Order Lens from Sambro Island Lighthouse and Shoes of the Titanic Unknown Child.nova-scotia-and-east-coast-178 Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (2)

Permanent Exhibits:

Titanic Exhibition Thumbnail
Halifax responds the tragedy
Halifax Wrecked Thumbnail
The 1917 explosion that devastated Halifax
CSS Acadia Thumbnail (2)
Walk aboard the only ship to survive WWI, WWII and the Halifax Explosion of 1917
Robertson Store Thumbnail
Just like it was in the early 1900s
Small Craft Thumbnail
A walk through some of Halifax’s special little sailboats
Theodore Tugboat
Theodore Tugboat
Days of Sail Thumbnail
Experience the
Golden Age of Sail
Age of Steam Thumbnail
Intricate scale models of some of history’s greatest steamships
Shipwreck Treasures
Rare artifacts and intriguing facts about Nova Scotia’s numerous shipwrecks
Navy Gallery Icon
Navigate through warship models, famous battle artifacts and the Pullen Sword Collection.


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