With the Museum’s relocation in 2008 to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, staff were able to expand the size and diversity of our permanent exhibits. Building upon the rich history and culture of Nanaimo’s past the Museum’s permanent exhibits take visitors on a visual journey. Highlighting the industries that helped shape the city in addition to First Nations history and the lifestyles of city residents, a tour through the museum’s gallery is an informative and rewarding experience not to be missed.
While here be sure to visit the Feature Exhibit Gallery. To find out what the current feature exhibit is Click HERE. Also visitors are encouraged not to miss out on the Community Hallway Displayand the Sports Hall of Fame located directly beside the gift shop.
The Welcome Area engages the visitor in an overview of local history from Nanaimo's founding to its more prominent years as a coal mining town. Visitors are also treated to a continuous video of Nanaimo on a large monitor as they first enter the gallery. Read more
Lifestyles celebrates Nanaimo's more entertaining side by showcasing concert bands, dances, theatres and its sportier side by taking a look at hockey, lacrosse, and soccer. Read more
The Coal Mine is a popular replica exhibit that was built with help from scenic artists working in the movie industry. The coal mine shaft is as close to an actual mine as most people will ever get. Besides having the look and ambiance of an underground shaft, there is also an interesting geology component, as well as some interactive displays. Ask for a brass coal miners tag when you enter the museum, and at the end of the exhibit you can use that tag to hear a story of an actual miner that worked in Nanaimo.
The Harbour provides an intriguing look at the evolution of Nanaimo's harbour as a hub of activity involving transportation and trade, and its function as a shipping port for coal and timber. It also looks at the harbour's recreational functions, such as sailing and diving, as well as it's original use by the Snunéymuxw people. Read more
The Snunéymuxw exhibit allows visitors to see what daily life was like in a traditional longhouse and gain knowledge of the curious objects used in everyday living, including textiles, basketry, trade items, and tools used for fishing by the early Snunéymuxw First Nation. Read more
Educating Nanaimo gives visitors a feeling of what it would be like inside of a mid-1920s school room. Read more
Timber! explores the historical impact of the forestry industry on the region. Discover the importance of logging, sawmills, and pulp manufacturing through interpretive panels, fascinating models, and informative displays. Read more
Hub City takes an intriguing look at the city's past. Compromised of several different elements, this exhibit highlights the commercial development of Nanaimo, Chinatown, as well as a feature on heritage homes, and Nanaimo's civic development. Read more
The Bastion Era takes a look at the most famous building in Nanaimo that was built by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1853. The exhibit also features the arrival of the Princess Royal with the Staffordshire miners and their families on board. Read more
The Sports Hall of Fame exhibit celebrates the accomplishments of Nanaimo's incredible sporting community. Each year, a selection of athletes, teams, builders, media, and/or pioneers is made from the nominations presented by community residents. The Sports Hall of Fame gallery is located in the museum's lobby. Read more