A Guide to Museums in Kingston

By Lexy Correa

With more than 20 museums, it’s safe to say Kingston packs a punch in history class. We’ve broken the museums up into 3 categories—natural history, history and heritage, and science and technology so you know exactly where to start.

Natural History Museums

Miller Museum of Geology

36 Union St.
This museum features a collection of the Earth’s rocks, minerals and fossils (including a dinosaur exhibit with a fossil dig box), an overview of the geological history of the Kingston area, and exhibits about the oldest known animal fossils. You’ll love their newest exhibit featuring a Augmented Reality Sandbox display (perfect for kids who want to get their hands dirty!)

A museum for geology lovers, mineral collectors, and those interested in the study of the Earth.

Maclachlan Woodworking Museum

2993 Highway 2 E
Did you know the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum holds the most extensive collection of woodworking tools in Canada? This one-of-a-kind museum offers learning events throughout the season for museum-goers of all ages; drop in LumberKits for families, workshops for children and adults, and a number of special events.

A museum for creators who love hands-on experiences. Try out their Lumberjack Camp on June 1st; an outdoor experience designed to make you a survival expert!

Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston

53 Younge St.
Home to an artifact collection of over 4,000 objects and art, expect to find a broad range of instruments, tools and equipment used by mariners, shipbuilders and yachtsman. There’s also a vibrant photo collection that includes images documenting ships and shipwrecks, the marine industry, shipping company advertising, and more.

A museum for marine lovers, sailors, and anyone interested in the story of Kingston and the Great Lakes.

History & Heritage Museums

Canada’s Penitentiary Museum

555 King St. West
Appropriately located in the former Warden’s residence across the street from the Kingston Pen, Canada’s Penitentiary has so many unexpected facts about Canada’s Corrections System. Expect to see confiscated weapons, officer regalia, and works of art created by inmates.

A museum for anyone interested in criminology, Canadian history, or just unusual places and experiences.

The Frontenac County Schools Museum

414 Regent St.
Perfect for students who want a true throwback to the past; experience educational life in the early 1900s through displays of school textbooks, artifacts, memorabilia and photographs. There’s even a schoolroom stocked with slates and wooden desks!

A museum for those interested in the educational system, lifelong learners, or those who want to learn more about Kingston’s history.

The Original Hockey Hall of Fame

1350 Gardiners Rd.
No need to drive to Toronto to get a little piece of hockey’s history. Fittingly located on the second floor of the Invista Centre, The Original Hockey Hall of Fame is filled with a ton of interesting facts and artifacts. The best part is the focus on Kingston-born legends like Doug Gilmour and Jayna Hefford. And what would a hall of fame be without a shrine to Grapes (aka Don Cherry)?

A museum for ice hockey and sport lovers.

Queen’s Archives

Kathleen Hall, 11 Medical Quadrangle
This space is a gem for researchers and acts as a museum for specific topics you might be interested in. If you’ve never been to the Archives before, bring a piece of photo ID and be prepared to fill out a piece of paper to create a membership card before you begin browsing.

A museum for researchers and anyone wanting to learn more about the history of Kingston.

Science & Technology

Military Communications & Electronics Museum

95 Craftsman Blvd
If you haven’t been to this museum, you’ll be surprised by how large it is. Their newest exhibit highlights the Curtiss JN-4 Canuck – a biplane introduced in the early 1900s. Expect a reproduction of a WWI era cockpit, original wireless radios, and even a flight simulator!

A museum for those interested in the Canadian military, snapshots of time both distant and near, and communications technology.

PumpHouse Steam Museum

23 Ontario St.
This eye-catching museum is a mix of old and new. Stunning old pumps and model train displays fill the high-ceiling space and are truly amazing to look at. The newest exhibit, Ontario Street: Brewers, Bakers & Boilermakers, features the rich history of Ontario Street from the 1830’s to 1970’s.

A museum for the young, old and everyone in between who appreciates interactive experiences.

Museum of Health Care

32 George St.
Appropriately located in the Ann Baillie Building, a former residence for student nurses, the Museum of Health Care explores medical innovations in the 1800s, the influence of electricity in health care, and an inside look at the history of Kingston General Hospital. You’ll be blown away by their collection of medical artifacts.

A museum for aspiring/practicing healthcare professionals and those interested in the story of the Canadian Health Care system.

For additional museums in Kingston and to view hours of operation, please visit www.kingstonmuseums.ca.