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Hidden gems: Discover Ottawa’s other museums

close up of a lamb

Looking to take a journey back in Ottawa’s history to learn about the cool people, places and things that make the capital special? Then it’s time to discover Ottawa’s other museums.

Through the Ottawa Museum Network, you can explore 11 local community museums, each with a unique story to tell. From an underground adventure at the Diefenbunker, to afternoon tea at the Billings Estate, immerse yourself in everything these special locations have to offer. 

Billings Estate National Historic Site

It’s tea time at Billings Estate

This National Historic Site is home to the oldest timber frame building in Ottawa as well as one of Ottawa’s oldest community cemeteries. Tour the family home, learn about the Billings Family and their contributions to Ottawa’s history or join the community for high tea on the estate grounds.

a fancy teapot and teacup

Bytown Museum

The evolution of Ottawa

Explore the stories of an evolving city and its residents from the early days of Bytown to present-day Ottawa, while being uniquely situated on a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site! From artifacts and photographs, to paintings and written histories, experience Ottawa’s past just steps away from Parliament hill.

interior image of Bytown museum

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

Village life from the Roaring 20s to the Great Depression

An immersive and educational experience that showcases life in the 1920s and 30s with dozens of heritage and true-to-the-era reproduction buildings. Explore the sawmill, shingle mill, fire hall, church, general store and more!

A man sawing wood

Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum

Descend into history, 75 feet underground

A once-top secret, four-storey underground bunker during the Cold War, The Diefenbunker offers visitors a unique experiential learning environment inside Canada’s most significant Cold War artifact. Take a guided tour, or try your hand at the on-site escape room, all while immersing yourself in the era. 

Fairfields Heritage House
Go back in time to the 19th century

Originally built on 660 acres of farmland, the museum tells the story of almost 200 years of rich, local history and the people who so actively helped shape the evolution of the area. Explore the 19th century Gothic Revival farmhouse, and take a stroll through the beautiful gardens and greenspace.

Fairfield House

Goulbourn Museum

Take the kids to another era and teach them how to haggle

Goulbourn Museum preserves and interprets material significant to the Goulbourn Township area before, during, and after its incorporation. The Museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts and many interactive exhibitions, including the popular Village General Store where children can dress in costume to barter or shop for supplies.

antique nurse's bag

Nepean Museum

Nepean: The whole story

Using dozens of photos, artifacts, and interactive elements, the permanent exhibition spans the history of Nepean from its use by Algonquin peoples, up until Nepean’s amalgamation with Ottawa at the turn of the 21st Century. With many fun hands-on events, programs and exhibitions, you’ll find lots to discover. 

Osgoode Township Museum

Research your roots and discover farming in the olden days

Learn the story of how Indigenous people and the first European settlers paved a path for current day rural community members, and how these residents are cultivating their connections with the past! During your visit, tour the heritage garden and orchard and get a closer look at some antique farming equipment.

antique farm equipment

Pinhey’s Point Historic Site

Ruins by the Ottawa River, and so much more

Scenic views, historic buildings, stone ruins, and rolling green hills come together to create one of the most spectacular places in Ottawa to relax, learn, and explore. Tour the 200-year old historic manor and travel back in time with artifacts and furniture that tell a centuries-old story.

internal image of Piney museum

Vanier Museopark

The only French-language museum in Ottawa, and it has a sugar shack!

Learn about maple syrup production right in the heart of Vanier at the North America’s only urban sugar shack! Visitors can immerse themselves in the history of Ottawa’s francophone community while enjoying a sweet treat.

exterior image of vanier museopark

Watson’s Mill and Dickinson House

This old mill is still grinding away

Enjoy a guided tour of the 19th-century mill, which remains active – and learn how flour is made during milling demonstrations every Sunday from May to October. Or, discover Dickinson House where guests can enjoy daily life demonstrations, offering guests a deeper look at life during the Victorian Era.

exterior image of Watson mill