History Hall

The largest exhibition about Canadian History ever developed


Covers a span of some 15,000 years, from the earliest known human habitation to the present day


Occupies more than 4,000 square meters (44,000 sq. ft.) of exhibition space


Displays 1,500 authentic artifacts, including some of the finest national historical treasures

Tells Canada’s Story in a very inclusive way through the lived experiences of Real People and from Multiple Perspectives

Includes both achievements and some dark chapters from Canada’s Past

Features stories from coast to coast to coast, making it a truly national exhibition


Captivating exhibitions give us cause to celebrate a great year and to look to the future with optimism

Napoleon and Paris

Visitors discovered the complex relationship of a legendary man and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Over 250 artifacts revealed Napoleon’s ambitious dream of turning Paris into the capital of Europe.



Deadly Skies – Air War, 1914–1918

Beyond the dogfights, visitors were immersed in the lives of nine people, from both sides of the conflict, who experienced the first air war. Their stories — told with more than 80 authentic artifacts woven into an innovative graphic-novel presentation — provided insight into the history and consequences of the first air war.



Gold Rush! – El Dorado in British Columbia

Visitors relived the tumultuous days of gold’s discovery in British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon and travelled back to 1858 to meet starry-eyed, fortune-seeking prospectors who dreamed of astonishing finds — like the huge Turnagain Nugget.



Horse Power – The Paul Bienvenu Carriage Collection

Exquisite craftsmanship blended with the romance of bygone days in this sumptuous exhibition of 18 horse-drawn sleighs and carriages, handcrafted between 1770 and 1950.



Travelling Exhibitions

This past year, 13 exhibitions travelled to 33 venues. All told, they were seen by more than 233,426 visitors in communities across the country, in the United States (Washington, D.C.) and in Europe (Greece and France).


  • Canadian Museum of History
  • Canadian War Museum


Since the start of the campaign, the Museum has raised a milestone amount for the Canadian History Hall

…nearly $9 million, surpassing its original target of $5 million.

7 additional Proud Supporters have pledged $100,000 or more in support of the Hall

Major Donors

The Rossy Family Foundation
Gift of $3 million

The Catherine and Fredrik Eaton Family Charitable Foundation
Gift of $2 million

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the Weston Family
Gift of $2 million

Nearly 40 donors have been motivated to contribute $1,000 or more

The War Museum is grateful to John and Elizabeth Irving for providing a generous gift of $250,000.

$125,000 for the exhibition
Vimy – Beyond the Battle

$125,000 for a new exhibition,
The Last 100 Days

In 2016–17, 4,766 individuals, foundations and corporations from across Canada and abroad contributed $5,477,409 to the Museum of History and the War Museum.

Across Canada and Abroad

total amount raised this year

We are extremely grateful for your generous support.


International collaborations bring Canada to the World, and the World to Canada

The First World War Commemoration provided a backdrop for the display of Witness – Fields of Battle Through Canadian Eyes, at the Musée des beaux-arts in Arras, France.

A new agreement with the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France, brought the exhibition From Vimy to Juno to the War Museum, presented in May 2017.

The Museum of History was host to a loaned exhibition from Artes de México: Huicholes – A People Walking Towards the Light.

The world’s
military historians gather in Canada

The Museums hosted the 83rd Annual Conference of the Society for Military History, one of the world’s top events for military history.

Partnerships and collaborations initiated








Original research informs new exhibitions and special projects

A research partnership between the Museum of History and the community of Arctic Bay, Nunavut led to the recreation of an ancient Inuit man.

Historians at the War Museum performed exhibition-related research for World War Women, Deadly Skies, Vimy, Preserved in Stone, Witness and more.

An oral history project is documenting the experiences of Syrian refugees to Canada and the community groups that have mobilized to support them.

Key research projects (progressing as planned or completed)








33 nationally significant artifacts find a home in the Museum collections

©JER/, used with permission
©JER/, used with permission

The Museum of History has acquired a collection of artifacts that belonged to the Bluenose’s designer, William James Roué, Canada’s most famous naval architect.

Collection reveals the intrigue and courage behind “the Canadian caper”

In 1980, Canadian embassy staff in Tehran risked their lives by smuggling six American diplomats out of revolution-era Iran. The Museum of History acquired a unique and sometimes-startling collection of artifacts related to this historic event from Canadian television producer Les Harris.

Artifacts convey the reality of life during war

The War Museum acquired several artifacts that speak of Canadians’ experience serving in war:

A rare wooden grave marker that once marked the final resting place of Private John Firman Ashe, a soldier at Vimy Ridge

Courtesy of the Whitebone family: Holly Riley and Allan Whitebone

Artifacts convey the reality of life during war

The War Museum acquired several artifacts that speak of Canadians’ experience serving in war:

A ventriloquist’s dummy and accompanying dog puppet from a show that entertained troops during the Second World War

Artifacts convey the reality of life during war

The War Museum acquired several artifacts that speak of Canadians’ experience serving in war:

Two plywood boards around the hockey rink installed at the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan

Photo: Peter Barlow

Another target surpassed

Nationally significant acquisitions that
reflect Canadian history







Here’s to 2016–17

And to an exciting and historic year ahead

See the full report