Nova Scotia museums offer up a full range of topics and create the perfect complements to vacations to many parts of this province. There are a number of museums spread throughout the province, so no matter where you're planning on to visit on your vacation, you'll be close to one of the sites that works to preserve and share the history of this slice of Atlantic Canada. This network includes living history villages, historic boats, and historic houses, all working together to celebrate what makes Nova Scotia special.
Since beginning in the 1870s, the provincial museums have grown into a significant cultural force. Every year, more than a half million visitors step into one of the Nova Scotia museums, located in cities large and small, on the mainland, and on Cape Breton Island. One of the most popular places is the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. This Halifax landmark reopened in 2010 with new exhibits, refreshed space, and enhanced visitor amenities.
Just west of Citadel Hill and next to the public gardens, the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History is easy to find. If you're out enjoying the views and the scenery of the Halifax waterfront, you can duck in the museum and spend some time exploring this region's distant past. Visitors of all ages will find fascinating facts about fossils, gold, and sea creatures, and learn how that figures into the outdoor world. Exhibits here will take you as deep as the ocean floor and as high as eagle's nest.
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is another interesting place to explore the history and heritage of this region. A gem along the Halifax waterfront, the museum has a diverse collection of ships and exhibits explaining the people and happenings that are connected to Halifax and the sea. This museum is largely recognized as having one of the best collections of wooden items salvaged from the Titanic. The city was the closest port to the disaster, and many of the artifacts have stayed in Halifax at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Storytellers regularly appear at the museum, bringing to life tales of the doomed ship, pirates, ghosts, and ordinary people who have roamed the shores of Halifax.
Besides the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, you also can visit the Uniacke Estate Museum Park in the Halifax region. This stunning historic home now hosts tours and tea service, and the surrounding acres are criss-crossed by nature trails. In just a few by car, you can head to Windsor and tour two more of the Nova Scotia museums. The hilltop Haliburton House was home to the author of the Sam Slick tales, Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton, while the Shand House Museum stands as a shining example of late Victorian design.
On the southern coast of Nova Scotia, where people come to see lighthouses and go on whale watching cruises, many of the museums reflect on the connection between Nova Scotians and the sea. One of the best places to experience this is at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in the town of Lunenburg. This charming old fishing village and example of a New World British colonial settlement has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Museum visitors are charmed by the aquarium exhibits and trips aboard the Bluenose II, a replica schooner watched over and cared for by museum volunteers.
Image: Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage