Alberta’s Awesome Museums and Historic Places

July 23, 2021

Most people forget all about their own backyards when planning vacations and getaways. But these days, travel restrictions are forcing us to discover what’s within driving distance of our homes.

Since hopping a plane isn’t an option for the majority of us, why not use this time to explore Alberta? Just taking a driving trip through Alberta can be a fantastic experience since you can choose where you want to go, what you want to see, and how much time you want to spend at each location. Fill up the car at your neighbourhood Calgary Co-op Gas Station, pick up some snacks and hit the highway this season! 

Explore Alberta’s Awesome Museums
Alberta offers many parks and recreational areas to choose from, but there are also several museums and historic places that locals and visitors shouldn’t miss

neon sign museumNeon Sign Museum in Edmonton
A quick and unforgettable trip is the Neon Sign Museum, which is exactly what it sounds like—a marvelous collection of neon signs. The first neon sign to be put up was the original Canadian Furniture store sign. All of the neon signs represent businesses that used to be in Edmonton or currently still are. These signs have all been donated and each one has a plaque outlining what the sign is, when it was made, the creator, and the history of the business it represents. Many people, especially those who frequented these businesses back in the day, get hit with a wave of nostalgia as they pass by the signs. These include Mike’s News, which was a hugely popular news store that also sold concert tickets (this was pre-internet!), snacks, smokes, and more. Open to the public 24/7 for free, the outdoor museum is currently made up of 20 neon signs and exhibits a respect for Alberta’s commercial past. 

remington carriage museumRemington Carriage Museum in Cardston
Even if you are not into horse-drawn transportation, the Remington Carriage Museum at 623 Main Street in Cardston is a must-see. Although he never lived to see the final completion, the museum was created by the legendary Canadian cowboy Don Remington, who was a prominent figure in Cardston and even provided Queen Elizabeth II with a carriage back in the day. The museum has a whopping 330 vehicles on display.  

The museum also offers carriage rides and guided tours as well as a gift shop so you can take home a souvenir. The experience is great for people of all ages, as everyone can gain a wealth of knowledge and see what life was like before automobiles and today’s mainstream public transportation.  

glenbow museumGlenbow Museum in Calgary
The Glenbow Museum is conveniently located right downtown and is another spot we probably have forgotten about, so now’s a great time to visit and see what’s new. Some of the exhibits are temporary and switched out periodically, whereas others are permanent and there to enjoy year-round.  

Exhibits cover both Canadian/Alberta history as well as international pieces, some of which are heart-wrenching and others that are joyous and intriguing. When you are planning your trip, be sure to check out the website because the museum sometimes offers discounts, deals, or free entry on certain days. 

Side note: Why not visit the Calgary Tower across the street after you tour the museum? The panoramic views of the city are unbeatable. Ticket availability maybe limited right now so be sure to check their website before you go.

bomber command museumBomber Command Museum in Nanton
Even though the museum is on the smaller side, it can take some time to take in all of the exhibits and information. The museum honours the individuals who were involved in World War II’s Bomber Command, but it is great for all ages and most visitors would agree the best part is actually getting to go inside a bomber. How many civilians can say they have done that?

The museum also offers a virtual reality experience, a flight simulator, and a Cessna crane simulator. There’s also the Lancaster bomber on display, which has been a Nanton icon for over 60 years now, and it’s always a hit with kids. Expect the staff to be infectiously enthusiastic about the models, exhibits, and photos scattered throughout the place. It’s definitely with a day trip!

gait museumGalt Museum & Archives in Lethbridge
The Galt Museum & Archives in Lethbridge is one of the largest museums in Alberta. The archives provide so much data about our history in Lethbridge and Canada as a whole, and it offers “traveling” exhibits, which change periodically and are carefully selected by the museum designers who consult historians and artists who make sure the works are accurate and the data is correct. 

The Lethbridge railroad bridge is possibly the most intriguing part of a visit to the city and it’s quite impressive for having been built in the early 1900’s. Some of the exhibits at the Galt Museum, including ones dealing with culture and human history, are interactive, which lets you and the family get up close and personal with the province’s history.

Now’s the time to get out and explore our home province of Alberta. There are so many museums and historic places to go that offer unforgettable educational opportunities. While we may think they’re geared at tourists, they are unmissable for us locals, as they are informative as well as entertaining. Why not fuel up the car, load up the family and head out on an exciting road trip?

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