The Banff Park Museum is a national historic site because the museum's original exhibit collection reflect and commemorate an early approach to the interpretation of natural history in Canada. Also, the architectural style and detailing of the 1903 log building are characteristic examples of early federal buildings in the Park.
The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was created in 1919 as a response to growing public concern with heritage preservation. In 1953, the Historic Sites and Monuments Act established the Board by statute, enlarged it, and gave it increased resources.
The board advises the Minister of Canadian Heritage on the commemoration of those persons, events, sites, structures, and places that represent nationally significant aspects of Canadian History.
The National Historic Sites Policy sets out the following objectives:
-To foster knowledge and appreciation of Canada's past through a national program of historical commemoration.
-To ensure the commemorative integrity of national historic sites administered by Parks Canada by protecting and presenting them for the benefit, education and enjoyment of this and future generations, in a manner that respects the significant and irreplaceable legacy represented by these places and their associated resources.
The Minister of Canadian Heritage is responsible for the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office or FHBRO. FHBRO assists government departments in the implementation of the Federal Buildings Policy.
The Federal Government of Canada owns many buildings that possess a special heritage character. This character includes the distinct characteristics that give buildings their importance, their quality, style or uniqueness. For example the building may have historical associations, architectural significance, environmental importance and continuity of use.
Government buildings that are 40 years old or older for which alteration, demolition, or disposal is planned must be identified and referred to the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office for evaluation in order to determine if the buildings have heritage value. FHBRO will designate the building as either Classified, Recognized or having no heritage character. Classified is the higher designation.
FHBRO promotes the protection of the heritage character of designated federal buildings in the interest of present and future generations by promoting the long-term use of these buildings in ways that preserve their heritage character.
The Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada plaque states:
Opened in 1895, the Banff Park Museum was moved into this building in 1903. Its cross-log motif exemplifies an architectural style common in the town at that time. Norman Bethune Sanson, the museum's curator from 1896 to 1932, energetically developed the collections, initially put together by the Geological Survey of Canada. Throughout its early years the museum dealt with natural and human history but by the late 1950's was limited to natural history. While this building was refurbished in 1985, the exhibit reflects museum interpretation current around 1914.