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Adjacent to the Sports Hall of Fame beside the gift shop visitors will find our Community Hallway Display. Featuring smaller collections and community exhibitions of art, photography and literary works, this exhibition space complements the superb Permanent Exhibits and Feature Exhibits found within the museum gallery.

 Looking for more information on past exhibits? Click HERE. 

Current Exhibit

160th Anniversary of the Princess Royal                                  November - December 2014                    

This exhibit features photographs of some of the twenty-four settler families that immigrated to Nanaimo on the Princess Royal in 1854. This year marks the 160th anniversary of their arrival, and the first year that the Nanaimo Museum puts on the annual November 27th Princess Royal Day ceremoney.

The exhibit is an ongoing project, and we are looking for photographs of families that we do not yet have in our collection so that we can have at least one photograph of each of the twenty-four families on display. If you or someone you know is a descendant of one of the Princess Royal families, please come down and check out the exhibit and make sure your family is represented in this collection!

Upcoming Exhibits

2015-2016 Exhibits TBA

Past Exhibits 


"The End" a Photo Exhibit by Jordan A. Johns                                  August 30th - October 31st                    

The exhibit looks at three different perspectives of the concept of the end Cemeteries, "Whats Left Behind" (relics left to be reclaimed by nature), "The End of the Line" (relics left at the end of industry).

Hudson Grave

Grave of Samuel Hudson

Samuel Hudson, who was born in 1850, worked in the mines in Nanaimo until his death in the No. 1 Mine explosion on May 3rd 1887. He made a rescue attempt at the cost of his own life, leaving behind a wife and 4 children. The  inquest stated that he died from the afterdamp. As a member of the Ashlar Lodge Masons, he was honored by his fellow Masons 106 years later for the brave efforts he made in the ill fated rescue attempt.

— Nanaimo Cemetery


CVIMS Exhibit                                                                              June 9- July 31

The Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society (CVIMS) celebrates it's 35th anniversary, with an informative and inpiring community hallway display. "The CVIMS, also known as the Immigrant Welcome Centre, has assisted over 11,000 new immigrants," says Hilde Schlosar, Executive Director at CVIMS. "We help them settle, learn English, find jobs and become members of Canadian Society." This exhibit coincides with the opening of the museum's new feature exhibit, Canada Day 1.  

Heritage Paint-Out Shoot-Out                                                        
August 2014

Showcasing local work from this summer's  Paint Out, Shoot Out event. This exhibit features art pieces in various mediums including oils, acrylic, watercolour, ink, pastel, photography, and pencil crayon, all of which highlights a different Nanaimo heritage site. Having randomly selected a local heritage site, artists had one day to capture the essence of the site and create their show piece. The exhibit will be available for viewing during the month of August  in the Community Hallway Display space.

Jack Hardcastle Paintings
February 2014

The work of the late Nanaimo marine artist Jack Hardcastle will be featured in the Community Gallery. Hardcastle was known for his paintings of ships associated with Nanaimo, particularly the Princess Royal, and his souvenir life ring framed paintings of BC ships. This exhibition coincides with the 2014 Heritage Week theme of Heritage Afloat! 

March 2014: Wilf Hatch Drawings

Local artist Wilf Hatch is well known for his photography, but has returned to his art school roots with a collection of recent graphite sketches & drawings. The pieces span various subjects, including buildings and places important to Nanaimo. Several of his works will be displayed in our community gallery for the month of March.

The Ancients Among Us:  The Art and Science of Sturgeon
August 5 – September 3, 2013

Often described as a “living fossil”, sturgeons have been found in fresh and salt water for over 200 million years. Its popularity with food connoisseurs has created a problem of overfishing in some countries. However, that popularity has created opportunities for commercial farming and Nanaimo is becoming the Canadian centre for sturgeon research. Discover the history of this amazing fish that is found in many island rivers, including the Nanaimo River and in the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can also participate by recording their sturgeon encounters in a logbook that is part of the exhibition.

This exhibition was developed in partnership with the International Centre for Sturgeon Studies at Vancouver Island University. www.viu.ca/sturgeon

Historic Nanaimo Photo Display

The Nanaimo Museum's latest hallway display features prints of old Nanaimo photographs by artist Matt James. The digitally restored photos will be available for viewing 10am-5pm daily until the beginning of July.

These and other works will be available for purchase during a silent auction & reception on Thursday, June 6th from 6pm-9pm. A percentage of sales will be donated to local charities.

As a hobby historian, Matt spends much of his time researching and selecting images from various collections including the Nanaimo Museum and Nanaimo Community Archives. The prints are meticulously restored and enhanced to create beautiful images of our city's history.

Les Skipskey Education Collection (Retired Teacher's Association)
March 11- April 8, 2013

In partnership with the Nanaimo Ladysmith Retired Teachers' Association, the Nanaimo Museum is proud to present the Skipsey Collection. Named after Les Skipsey-a life long history buff and now retired teacher- who, along with another retired teacher, Gaven Halkett began collecting memorabilia from the district’s schools years ago. The exhibit features artefacts from both the Skipsey collection and the Museum’s education inventory such as old school bells, textbooks and even an old leather strap.   

Johnny-Saul Exhibit
March 2 - April 6, 2013 

My Father and the Man in Black” showcases memorabilia collected by one of Johnny Cash’s former managers Saul Holiff.  Found in a Nanaimo storage locker in 2005 by Holiff’s son Jonathan, the collection includes gold records, thousands of photos, audio recordings and other materials. A highlight of the exhibit includes the display of three gold records Holiff earned for “A Boy Named Sue”, “Ring of Fire”, and “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison”, as well as photos and posters. The exhibit runs from March 2 to April 6. 

Black History Month 
January 26 - March 2, 2013

The Nanaimo African Heritage Society presents a month-long celebration 
of Black History. The focus of this year's display is on noted teachers 
of African decent and the contributions of black pioneers to Nanaimo’s 
history. The display runs during the month of February.  Be Sure to visit the 
Nanaimo Museum to view the Community Hallway Display on Black History.

Heritage Paint Out, Shoot Out
January 2-31, 2013

Showcasing local work from this fall’s Paint Out, Shoot Out event. This exhibit features art pieces in various mediums including oils, acrylic, watercolour, ink, pastel, photography, and pencil crayon, all of which highlights a different Nanaimo heritage site. Having randomly selected a local heritage site, artists had one day to capture the essence of the site and create their show piece. The exhibit will be available for viewing during the month of January in the Community Hallway Display space.

111 West Coast Literary Portraits

November 24, 2012 to January 31, 2013

  The museum is excited to host the launch of 111 West Coast Literary Portraits by Barry Peterson and Blaise Enright, which features rare portraits of B.C. writers, accompanied by excerpts of their writing. 

   The books creators shot over 60 portraits in black and white of writers in their personal space, where they felt less inhibited, resulting in intimate portraits of B.C.’s best, most honoured, as well as emerging, literary talent. 

   In addition to the launch, a special selection of portraits will be exhibited in the Hallway Gallery here at the museum. Light refreshments will be provided, and the Nanaimo Museum will be selling copies of this fascinating book. 

Friends of Morden Mine
September 28 to November 17, 2012

The recent Friends of Morden Mine (FOMM) Annual General Meeting took place in the Museum gallery on September 29th. It launched the recognition of three upcoming anniversaries for Morden, beginning with the drilling of the Nos. 3 and 4 shafts.

We are very happy to assist FOMM, whose goals are similiar to our own, by formatting and exhibiting this information, and providing space for their AGM. This collaboration with FOMM has added information that enhances the museum coal mine exhibit.

The exhibit tells the story of Morden Mine in a series of four panels that charts its early history from an active coal mine into Morden Colliery Provincial Historic Park.

FOMM’s new 100 year commemorative and geo-cache coins are available for purchase in the giftshop.

Snuneymuxw Artist Noel Brown 
June 21 to September 3, 2012

The Nanaimo Museum is featuring the art of Snuneymuxw artist Noel Brown in an exhibition that runs from June 21 - National Aboriginal Day – to September 3. He is a renowned carver and jewellery maker whose art can be seen in many public areas of Nanaimo such as the BC Ferries Departure Bay terminal; the new cruise ship terminal; and the finely crafted posts outside the Snuneymuxw First Nation Administration building. His art and jewellery are becoming increasingly popular and his work has found an international market. The exhibition will feature several small and large examples of his work.

Noel’s long connection to the museum began in 1995 when he painted the panels in the an earlier major Snuneymuxw exhibit, his first professional commission. He also designed the iconic ‘Circle of Life’ symbol that is used at the museum.
Noel is a member of the Snuneymuxw and Kwakwaka’wakw people and comes from a long tradition of artists and carvers on both sides of his family. He pays tribute to his ancestors and his heritage by immortalizing the Coast Salish culture in his art objects, especially from songs and stories told to him by his grandmother and Elders.

Black History Month Celebration- The Tree of Many Colors 
January 30- February 29, 2012

The Nanaimo African Heritage Society presents a month-long celebration 
of Black History. Visit the Nanaimo Museum to view the Community Hallway Display on Black History - The Tree of Many Colours.

Nanaimo Yacht Club Celebrates 80 Years

May 27 to July 17, 2011

Recognizing the importance of preserving and sharing its history with the community, the Nanaimo Yacht Club Heritage Committee is pleased to announce a mini-exhibit of the Club’s history in the community gallery space in the foyer of the Nanaimo Museum.

The exhibit opens this month to coincide with the start of the boating season and will feature didactic panels capturing key moments in the Club’s 80-year history. An end panel will be created denoting recent community-focused events such as the annual Sail Past, its contribution to the new Nanaimo Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Boat House (2009) and to the launch of the J.C. MacGregor, the new Auxiliary Coast Guard Rescue Vessel (2011).

A “tour and talk” by curator David Hill-Turner on key marine heritage pieces in the Museums’ permanent collection will take place on Sunday, May 29th at 11am for NYC and Museum members.

The Nanaimo Yacht Club is pleased to announce it has made a donation to  ‘adopt’ a Museum artefact of particular interest to Club members---the “Queen’s Cup”----won by Nanaimo’s Hudson’s Bay Company Mine Manager and yachtsman, Charles Samuel Nicol in the earliest known yachting race on the coast. This silver trophy, also the earliest known yachting trophy in BC, commemorates his win of a race in 1862. The inscription reads “Queen’s Cup won by the Kelpie Nanaimo VI 1862.”

“This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Nanaimo Yacht Club”, noted Commodore Basil Hobbs. “The mini-exhibit, tour and talk and adoption of the Silver Queen’s Cup trophy artefact at the Museum provide a unique opportunity to celebrate this milestone and share the Club’s history and its role in our community.”


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