Cranbrook History Centre
Cranbrook History Centre
4.5
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
The Cranbrook History Centre is a landmark site located in Cranbrook BC. We preserve and display internationally recognized paleontology specimens, a nationally designated railcar collection, and serve as a repository for the history of Cranbrook and the East Kootenay region for all to explore and discover. Located in beautiful downtown Cranbrook, the History Centre offers something for visitors of all ages. The Centre is also home to the Trans-Canada Limited, a luxury train that ran in the 1920s, as well as many other restored Canadian trains.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles165 reviews
Excellent
89
Very good
51
Average
17
Poor
4
Terrible
4

Gardiner W
Vancouver, Canada493 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
From the squeals of small kids I knew something was compelling...in the centre there is a model railway set up with 4, count them 4, train systems running. Cranbrook like so many other cities along Highway 3 was established by/with the Canadian Pacific Railway and the museum covers this well. So there is the museum part of the centre which focusses pretty much on Cranbrook history and also the train, or more accurately train carriages, part of the centre. The latter area has what looked to be dozens of ancient rail cars waiting and pending restoration. A tour through select group of these cars shows what travelling was like in the heyday of rail traffic - CP rail - the fastest way to get from BC to eastern Canada. If you are a rail buff this is the place for you.
Written April 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TandT94
Vancouver, B.C.21 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Avoid this tedious experience at all costs. Visitors are required to take audio tours of the rail cars on display, accompanied by a guide, and are not permitted to wander freely on their own. The patronizing orientation video is geared to the level of a rowdy school field trip and, among other things, warns visitors not to talk above a whisper during the tours. The audio tours themsleves are mind-numbing and repetitive recitations of the decorating history of each car, which hold nothing of interest for non-afficianados, let alone for children. Mine are usually very attentive at museums and they were thoroughly bored from the outset. It takes a special kind of rail-buff myopia to ruin the experience of visiting these beautiful trains, but the organizers of this museum have succeeded.
Written August 27, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SKH2013
Calgary, Canada12 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2014 • Friends
My friends and I visited this museum last fall/winter, 2013. The guide for the 1pm or 1:30pm time lot did not show up, the receptionist tried calling around to find a replacement ... to no avail. We left disappointed as we drove from Calgary to Cranbrook. I called again today to make arrangements for May 24th, 2014, more than one week out. I was told again that no one would be there to guide us as the summer students would not be in place yet. After a discussion with the current Executive Manager, he decided that the best way to deal with me was to 'hang up'. This, in my opinion, was completely unprofessional. Do yourself a favour and don't waste your time, chances are you won't get in because either no guide will be there or you will have the door slammed in your face.
Written May 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kobayaski C
Calgary, Canada1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Friends
I would love to tell you that this is a great museum to visit but from all account this "museum" appears to be only a gift shop. Their railway exhibits never seems to be open regardless of what their web-site states. If you call ahead to the museum to confirm the tours are open - they are not, but surprise the gift shop is! After a year of trying to tour the museum's rail exhibit without success, I have resigned myself to the fact this will never happen. This is one of the most poorly run tourist attraction I have been to.
Written May 17, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

munchkinmommy
Sparwood, Canada48 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
We were initially very excited to go to this museum, especially since our son is a big "choo-choo" buff. We registered for a one hour tour and unfortunately never made it on the tour. During the "pre-tour" video we were informed there would be no touching, sitting, talking or conversation above a whisper during the tour. And childrens hands would have to be held at ALL times- something that wouldn't happen we knew with our hands-on dude. Also, we were told we would not be permitted to ask detailed questions about the exhibits as the guides would not know the answers basically. This museum is great for anybody interested in interior design of trains but not great if you want to explore it at your own pace .
Only guided tours are available and you cannot access or view the exhibits on your own. A grand tour of all their trains is about 2 hrs long but you can pick and choose which sections you would like to see.
Written August 15, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

G G
Scotland, UK219 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2013 • Family
First of all the layout of the museum/tour was not how we imagined it would be. When we arrived at reception we were told there were different tours to choose from, either do them all for approx 2 hours, or pick and choose, shorter individual tours. We chose tour 1, approx 35 mins. I can't imagine going round this for 2 hours, unless you're really interested in trains/history. Our group was small and yet we felt rushed, each carriage you stop in an audio guide is played, which was very informative. However I had more questions about things and my guide couldn't answer them? :( The restoration on the carriages is amazing, a lot of work has been done and millions of dollars spent. However we felt the tour was very restricting. For instance, it would be impossible for a disabled person to go through and even very challenging for senior citizens. We expected the carriages to be on display inside a big hangar or warehouse, but instead they're actually on the track. We've been to museums all around the world and never seen this format before.
The history of the railway and how Canada was built by pioneers from Britain is getting a bit tiring now, every museum, or national site I visit in this country has a background story that involves someone Scottish. All the stories, blend into one now. The whole story behind the railway was nothing new, it was really the restoration process and just imagining the people actually traveling the train. The smell in these carriages must've been something else, with gentlemen smoking, fumes, ladies perfume etc.
A great piece of history, but could've been done better - and definitely not for kids, there wasn't even a baby changing table in the washrooms!
Written June 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RoapTripper3081
USA417 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Family
Pros: Model railroad setup looked like it would be neat on. The restored railway car panels in the gift shop were interesting.

Cons: Located in a dilapidated building are several unfinished, perpetually under construction exhibits. One of the exhibits said it would be finished in 2010, but still remains under construction. The model railway's sign said it was to be open in 1990. Felt like I wasn't supposed to be in the museum since it was unfinished.
Written August 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Scott W
Saskatoon3 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014
As a rail fan I had expectations of this being an entertaining and interesting experience. The subject is interesting but the delivery method leaves a lot to be desired. The guided tour is led by uninterested people who just play a prerecorded message in each railcar. The repeated pleas for money are just too much. Something at this museum has to change because this way of doing things is not working as is evident by no patrons on a beautiful July tourist laden Cranbrook afternoon.
Written July 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Susan B
Calgary, Canada40 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2012 • Family
It cost our family nearly $60 for a full tour of the rail cars at the museum. It all started with an intro video that gave you all sorts of rules to follow, including not asking your tour guide any questions - as they may not give accurate responses (huh?). Next you progress through three trains and about a dozen cars - all at various stages of refurbishment. The tour was very organized and limited to 10 people. At each car the tour guide would put on a CD for the group to listen to and point at items in a Vanna White sort of fashion. Kinda unusual. However, we appreciated the A/C in the cars as it was a blistering 38 degrees outside.
Written July 23, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Odis P
Bent NM412 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2012 • Couples
A collection of old rail cars, mostly in disrepair, plus a disjointed history of Cranbrook, and some oddments. There is a fascinating display of woodwork restoration and an example of a before-and-after rail car restoration. But this place need a few more years to get its exhibits in order. Note that rail cars are not heated in the winter and not suitable for children or disabled people.
Written March 6, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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