Hamilton museums and art galleries cater to a variety of different interests. Discover some of southern Ontario's best-kept secrets.
Art lovers will enjoy the Art Gallery of Hamilton and McMaster Museum of Art. Heritage buffs should check out Dundurn Castle, Whiterhern, the Haida National Historic Site and more. There's even something for sports fans!
123 King Street West, Hamilton
Out-of-town guests are often surprised and impressed by this wonderful gallery. As one of Ontario's largest art galleries, it boasts more than 9,000 works in its permanent collection. It also has a very active exhibit schedule featuring a mix of historical and contemporary art. The AGH offers exciting films, lectures and roundtable discussions. They also host an International Film Festival every fall.
Battlefield House Museum and Park
77 King St. West, Stoney Creek--- NOTE: this is in Stoney Creek, in the east end of Greater Hamilton, not downtown Hamilton!
The Gage Homestead, built in 1796, is a beautiful old home well worth the drive. Also if you're interested in military history, and the War of 1812 in particular, this is one of the most important sites to visit. Every year there is a military re-enactment here of the Battle of Stoney Creek.
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
9280 Airport Road, Mount Hope at the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport
Climb into a World War II fighter jet. Learn more about Canada's aviation history. The Avro CG-100 is the museum's pride and joy.
Above: Dundurn Castle in Hamilton Ontario
610 York Blvd., Hamilton
Probably the best-known of all the Hamilton museums. Not really a castle but a magnificent 19th century mansion. Formerly the home of Sir Allan Napier MacNab, railway baron, property investor, and one of Canada's pre-Confederation prime ministers. You can tour more than 40 rooms. Especially beautiful when it’s decorated for a Victorian Christmas. Go downstairs to the kitchen and staff quarters to see the “other side” of mansion life.
Here are a few photographs of Dundurn:
Read more about the Castle here: Dundurn Castle
Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum
64 Sulphur Springs Rd., Ancaster
A local history and arts museum in the community of Ancaster (part of greater Hamilton). Limited hours, so call ahead.
733 Mineral Springs Rd., Ancaster
Tel: 905-546-2424 ext. 7220
A National Historic Site. Built around 1827. This house was the home of Enerals and Priscilla Griffin from about 1834, who came to Canada to escape slavery in the United States. Limited hours, so call ahead.
1072 Main Street East, Hamilton
This museum has a lot of hands-on activities for young children. It's located in beautiful Gage Park.
Hamilton Military Museum
610 York Blvd., Hamilton
On the grounds of Dundurn Castle, this small museum covers topics such as the War of 1812, the Rebellion of 1837–38, the Boer War and World War I. Displays include a reconstruction of a World War I trench.
Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology
900 Woodward, Hamilton
Hamilton's first municipal waterworks. A lot more interesting than it sounds! Very handsome architecture too… they built for beauty as well as function in the 19th century. It's in the east end of the city, not far from Confederation Park. Maybe stop off here on the way to the beach or Wild Waterworks (speaking of water)?
HMCS Haida National Historic Site of Canada
Pier 9, 658 Catharine St. N., Hamilton
This World War II war ship is definitely one of the most unique "museums" I've seen. After squeezing my way up these ladders and through the tight living quarters, I feel that every sailor who sailed in it should receive a medal, whether they were decorated "war heroes" or not. Just to survive in the crowded conditions must have required extraordinary courage and discipline. The captain and the officers had it pretty good, but the average Joes ate, sat and stored their belongings in a space about 2 feet wide and slept in hammock overhanging their seat/storage box. It really gives you an appreciation for what these sailors went through even BEFORE the weapons started flying! Visit this ship and you'll never again moan about how small your home is.
Alvin A. Lee Building, University Avenue, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton
Tel: 905-525-9140 ext. 23081
Small but lovely collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Hosts interesting temporary exhibits as well. Pop in if you’re visiting the McMaster University campus or are out here for a jazz or classical music concert. The university hosts regular musical concerts on campus featuring world-famous musicians.
41 Jackson St. W., Hamilton
This is one my favourite Hamilton museums. An overlooked jewel. Three generations of the inspirational McQuesten family lived here, and their original furnishings, personal items and art work are preserved in this intriguing time capsule. Listen to the costumed guide’s story about how this family fought their way back from grave financial and personal tragedy. You get a real feel for this family by touring their graceful 19th century limestone mansion. Tea in the gardens in the summer. Check for seasonal programming.
51 Stuart St., Hamilton
A small museum devoted to workers' history in Canada with an emphasis on Hamilton. A rare chance to reflect on how the majority of Canadians survived in the past, and a nice balance to the picture of the past portrayed by the typical “mansion museum”. Art gallery features contemporary artists concerned with labour themes.
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