Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada

Learning Experiences

Family at Bird Exhibit
Bird Exhibit
© Parks Canada

Explore the oldest natural history museum in Western Canada. This 1903 landmark building is an outstanding example of the rustic Banff Style of architecture. A “museum of a museum” that allows visitors to step back in time and learn about an early approach to natural history interpretation. This turn-of-the-century taxidermy collection continues to enchant visitors to Banff National Park, while sating their curiosity about the mammals, birds, insects and fish found in the Canadian Rockies.

How close have you been to a grizzly bear? Too close for comfort? Never seen one? The main galleries of the museum give visitors the opportunity to view local wildlife-up close and personal. Learn about changing attitudes to wildlife over the years and how those differing attitudes are reflected in the collection. Think about how the collection came together. You might be surprised to find out how some of the specimens ended up in the museum. Learn about Norman Bethune Sanson, the museum's Curator and local Meteorologist. Reflect on the art of taxidermy, the age of the specimens and enquire as to why they still look so good.

The Reading Room has a comprehensive collection of books and magazine available for perusal. There's something for everyone, from young to young at heart. Curl up on one of the sofas for a bit of reading or hone your research skills at one of the desks.

The interactive Discovery Room allows visitors to:

  • handle antlers and horns (do you know the difference?)
  • fondle furs (can you identify the different animals?)
  • assemble a park map jigsaw puzzle
  • view wildlife videos
  • touch fossils
  • record your thoughts on the blackboard

Join us for a tour of the site with a Parks Canada Interpreter:

Victoria Day to Thanksgiving
Daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Free with Site Admission