We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A self-referential museum?”
Review of Banff Park Museum

Banff Park Museum
Ranked #18 of 75 things to do in Banff
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Western Canada's oldest natural history museum, Banff Park Museum offers visitors a chance to browse some 5,000 vintage specimens - from stuffed bears to minerals and plants. A visit to this 'Museum of a Museum' is a great way to get an up-close look at Banff wildlife and see how natural history was interpreted a century ago. Plenty of interactive and kids' activities - including the Xplorers Club.
Edinburgh, Scotland
Level 6 Contributor
312 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
“A self-referential museum?”
Reviewed June 20, 2014

This museum was something of a conundrum to me. Most often, one goes to a museum to see the collections and learn something about the subject matter, so, one would expect to go to this museum to learn about the natural history of the area; however, in this case, that would be wrong. This is a National Historic Site, and it is, therefore, frozen in time, and the exhibit is the museum itself.

It does contain an impressive natural history collection, but this is pretty much as it was when the museum was established in 1903. The exhibits have name cards and very little other information. Even the printed museum guide focusses more on the style and intent of the displays than on the content, and most of the available information is about the building.

It is a nice building, and some of the exhibits are very nice - the "Cabinet of Curiosities" has some particularly interesting bits and pieces - so it is worth visiting if you have time to spare, but it probably won't take very long.

Before going to the museum, check the opening hours, which vary through the year - we went in June, but it was closed on the Monday. And also on the Tuesday

Visited June 2014
2 Thank M1DXB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

304 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kamloops, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
229 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Top notch”
Reviewed June 17, 2014

Great collection of flora and fauna from the local region. Well put together. A little expensive for the less than an hour you need in this place.

Visited June 2014
Thank Kevin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banff, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Old school”
Reviewed June 15, 2014

A collection of preserved animals from a previous era. Interesting in that it provides insight into how visitors perceived wildlife 100 years ago. Good for a rainy day.

Visited June 2014
Thank Eric H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
176 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“A museum of a museum”
Reviewed June 13, 2014

Not your typical museum, the Banff Park Museum is more like a 'museum of a museum'. This resonates from the hand-rolled glass windows, charismatic wood construction, and the obvious perception of people in the 1900's towards animals in their taxidermy.

Although only a small museum, it hosts a huge collection of taxidermy animals, many of which would now be considered illegal to collect for display.

For anybody interested in Natural History, it's worth noting that this was Canada's first Natural History Museum. It provided a real insight as to how animals were treated and perceived during this era.

Costing only $7.50 admission and only taking 30min or so to look around, the museum is centrally located and well worth a quick visit when visiting Banff.

Visited June 2014
Thank B3NJ1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
208 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“A quaint but interesting museum”
Reviewed June 9, 2014

I agree that the log construction of the museum is one of it's really interesting features, but the stuffed animals still enthral. There is something thrilling about being up close and personal to these magnificent animals, even if they are dead. The section on native canadian leaders was very interesting, and i wanted to see more on indigenous culture. Those artifacts included were great. The museum is worth visiting and would be great for children!

Visited May 2014
Thank agrippina1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Banff Park Museum also viewed

Banff, Banff National Park

Been to Banff Park Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing