Hamilton is steeped in history and there’s an abundance of institutions in the city dedicated to preserving that and more.
We are passionate about our city’s place in Canada and the world and the following museums do a good job of exploring that theme and many others. In fact, a lot of these organizations have a rich history on their own which figure prominently into the fabric of our community.
Here are the 5 must-see museums in Hamilton.
5. McMaster Museum of Art
When I was a student at Mac, one of my favourite spots on campus was the McMaster Museum of Art. With its ‘pay-what-you-can’ admission, I could sit quietly and devour world-class pieces of art for a reasonable (sometimes non-existent) fee. The Levy Collection, in particular, was a favourite and it contains works from some of the greats, including Gustave Courbet, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Chaim Soutine. The museum does have a constant rotation of exhibitions and its permanent collection is made up of more than 6000 objects that encompass the history of art from the late 15th to the 21st century, and coins and antiquities from Mediterranean cultures and China.
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4. Hamilton Children’s Museum
This is one of our family’s go-to places when we’re looking for a special outing. Housed in an 1875 farmhouse in Gage Park, the museum has been providing family-friendly learning opportunities to the public for more than 30 years. The staff here are just wonderfully inviting and informative and the spaces that children are encouraged to explore are full of surprises. They host a variety of workshops, exhibitions and events so no two visits are the same.
The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum was founded in 1972 and currently houses over forty aircraft and an extensive aviation gift shop and exhibit gallery. The Museum is open daily except Christmas Day and New Years’ Day and hosts special events take place throughout the year. The museum’s Kid Zone offers flight simulations, summer camps and more. For those looking for a thrill (and who are 12 years of age or older) flights in one of the planes, including a Lancaster, a B-25 Mitchell, a Fairey Firefly or PBY Canso, can be purchased.
2. Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology
The historic Hamilton Waterworks is a Civil and Power Engineering Landmark. Housed in a 160-year-old Waterworks, this National Historic Site preserves two 70-ton steam-powered water pumping engines thought to be the oldest surviving Canadian-built engines. The museum offers guided tours, various permanent and changing exhibits, and features special events for the whole family. Be warned: it is not air-conditioned.
The Art Gallery of Hamilton opened its doors in 1914 and is the oldest and largest art museum in Southern Ontario that features a permanent collection that features Canadian historical, international and contemporary art and consists of more than 10,000 works. With a constant rotation of exhibitions and an array of programming for children and adults, there’s something to be found there for all ages and repeat visits to the AGH will not be repetitive.
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