Engage communities in witnessing and preserving maritime heritages.
Maritime experiences are boldly embraced, shared and lived from a cultural centre on the waterfront.
The Maritime Museum of BC acknowledges the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Le-KWUNG-en) speaking peoples, represented by the Songhees and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) Nations, and the W̱SÁNEĆ (wh – say – nech) Nations on whose traditional territories the Museum buildings and collections rest. While we reside on Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ territory, we acknowledge that the Maritime Museum of BC’s area of focus covers all areas of British Columbia, which includes many Nations and their maritime histories and active cultures that have existed since time immemorial. The Maritime Museum of BC is committed to working with Indigenous peoples to educate ourselves and the public so we can collectively share these experiences and move forward together harmoniously, respectfully, and collaboratively.
The Maritime Museum of BC opened in 1955 as a naval museum located on Signal Hill just outside the gates of the HMC Dockyard in Esquimalt. By 1965, the Museum had outgrown the original location and found a new home in the former Supreme Court building in Bastion Square − the oldest surviving courthouse in the province. In 2014, the Museum got news from the Government of British Columbia that the provincially-owned historic courthouse was in need of major repairs that require the building to be empty. The Museum relocated to a new public storefront location at 634 Humboldt St.
In August 2021, the Museum moved again to our current 744 Douglas St. location, next to the Victoria Conference Centre. We have a larger exhibit space and gift shop, including staff offices and a public research space.
The majority of our collections are now stored off-site but are still accessible through our research request program.
Visit Us Today
A visit to the Maritime Museum of BC is a chance for the whole family to experience British Columbia’s marine heritage.
The museum presents evening talks and craft workshops that look at maritime history in unique and creative ways. Also offered are educational programs on topics such as immigration, pirates and privateers, women at sea, and the fur trade.
After your adventures here, embark on your own voyage and add to the story!
We embrace diversity, equity and accessibility in all we do. We are welcoming.
We are compassionate, empathetic and humble. Our results are propelled by collaboration and teamwork.
We are open, honest and transparent. Our work is anchored by being responsible, accountable, authentic, and socially and environmentally responsible.
We are curious, dynamic and adventurous. Our work is fueled by passion, action and flexibility.
We are everything maritime. Our work is meaningful, impactful and relevant.
Our Strategic Priorities
- Secure New Waterfront Home
Establish a new location for the Museum on Victoria’s waterfront.
- Build Partnerships
Engage with First Nations and others to develop enduring and mutually beneficial relationships.
- Preserve & Protect the Collection
Ensure appropriate space and care for the Museum’s extensive collection.
- Grow Our Community
Enhance the Museum’s profile and community connections, and grow our audience base.
- Be Sustainable
Build financial stability and sustainability, and the Museum’s human resource capacity.
Our Community outreach
Since early 2019 we have offered free programming to vulnerable and marginalized groups in the Greater Victoria region. We do this with funding provided by Foundations such as the Victoria Foundation and the Hamber Foundation, with operational support from government grants.
Museums have the ability to create a sense of belonging and well being within a community, and more often than not, at-risk populations are the most in need of this. We work with community partners who assist in providing for people’s basic needs, like food and shelter, to deliver our programs and services free of charge to help provide for people’s need to belong in their community. By providing programming and tours to vulnerable and marginalized groups we help people integrate back into the community where they can feel that sense of belonging.
To date, we have worked with the following organizations:
Cool Aid Society
Parent Support Services BC
Victoria Women’s Transition House
Community Living British Columbia
Cridge Centre for the Family
Pheonix Human Services
Victoria Women in Need Community Cooperative
Greater Victoria Down Syndrome Society
Greater Victoria Women’s Shelter Society
Peers Victoria Resources Society
Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society
Silver Threads Service for Seniors
The Salvation Army Victoria A.R.C.
Little Steps Therapy Services
Pacific Training Centre for the Blind
St. Peter and St. Paul
BC Foster Parents
Garth Homer Society