Guide to Museums in Kingston

Murney TowerAs one of Canada’s oldest cities, Kingston is rich with history.  You can find Canadian Heritage signs on buildings of all types, and monuments declaring the historical significance of various locations throughout the city.  Many of these sites still act as private homes and stores but we are also lucky to have dedicated folks who have preserved and collected artifacts, giving us some wonderful museums.  Particularly fascinating are the museums built within the original buildings or sites such as Fort Henry, The Frontenac Schools Museum and The Henry Alexander Ice Breaker.  All of them have something to offer to both tourists and Kingstonians alike.  Here is a brief overview of them all.  If we’ve missed one, please drop us a note below.

  • Bellevue House (35 Centre St): Sir John’s home.  Open April 1 – Oct 1 from 10am-5pm. $1.90-$3.90. Special events, including afternoon tea and candlelit tours are extra.
  • Kingston Archaeological Centre (611 Princess): See how archaeology began and developed in the Kingston area.   Open from 9:30am-4pm, Mon-Fri. $1.50-$2.50
  • Fort Henry (1 Fort Henry Dr): Kingston’s biggest historic site.  May 21-Sept. 11, open 10am-5pm daily. Admission ranges from $3-$14.25.  Special events, such as Sunset Ceremonies are extra.
  • Frontenac County Schools Museum (Barriefield): See old textbooks, photos and even experience a class with a Schoolmistress. Open July and August 10am-3pm, reduced hours during the school year.
  • International Hockey Hall of Fame (277 York St): Canada’s original Hockey HOF.  Summer hours: 10am-4pm. Off season tours can be arranged in advance. $2-$5
  • Kingston General Hospital Archives (76 Stuart St):  Houses KGH history since 1832. Visit for a peek or use the facility for research (advance arrangements required). 8:30am-4:30pm (8pm on Wednesdays)
  • Kingston Mills Blockhouse (Kingston Mills Rd): A self guided tour of the military lifestyle of 1839 on Canada’s oldest continuously operating canal.  Free admission but a charge for parking.
  • Kingston Scout Museum (642 MacDonnell St): Presents the history of Canadian Scouts. Advance arrangements must be made to visit. Admission is free but donations are accepted.
  • MacLachlan Woodworking Museum (2993 Hwy 2E): This popular field trip destination explores the role of woodworking in Canada.  MWM hosts many special events as well. Summer hours:10am-5pm.  $1.25-4.25
  • Marine Museum of the Great Lakes (55 Ontario St): Museum and Alexander Henry ice breaker are open daily 10am-4pm.  Library and research centre are also available by appointment. $5.50-$8.50
  • Military Comm. and Electronics Museum (95 Craftsman Blvd): Offers exhibits outlining the history of military communication and hosts special events.  Open May-Sept., Mon-Fri 8-4, wknds 11-5, free.
  • Miller Museum Of Geology and Mineralogy (36 Union): Earth science teaching museum for local schools and natural-science interest groups. Open 8:30-4:30, free admission.  Special group tours by request.
  • Murney Tower (corner of Barrie and King): Built as part of Kingston’s defences in 1846 and restored by The Kingston Historical Society.  Open May-Labour Day. $3
  • Museum of Health Care (32 George St): Learn about the medical history of Canada.  In addition to tours and drop in visits, the museum offers tons of family programs as well as lectures. 10am-4pm.
  • Penitentiary Museum (555 King St): Canada’s only penitentiary museum.  Open Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm and 10am-4pm on weekends.  Group tours available by appointment. Donations accepted.
  • Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment Museum (100 Montreal St): Presents the history of the regiment and local soldiers since 1863. Open Sept.-May, 7pm-10pm and May-Sept, 10am-4pm. Free.
  • Pump House Steam Museum (23 Ontario St): Features ongoing exhibits as well as tons of programming for the whole family and hosts special events.  Open May-Sept 10am-5pm. $1.25-$4.25.
  • Queen’s Archives (11 Medical Quadrangle): Houses 10 kilometers of archives dating back to 1869. Open 8:30-4:30 (closed from Aug. 22-Sept. 2 2011). The current exhibit looks at Royal visits in Kingston. Free.
  • Royal Military College Museum (RMC):  Displays material related to the history of RMC and its former cadets. Open June-Labour Day, 10am-5pm.
  • The Old House (Wolfe Island): The Wolfe Island Historical Society has transformed an old house into a museum focused on island history.  Open Thurs-Sun 11:30-3:30.

Thanks to Josh Jensen for today’s photo, which was kindly submitted to our Flickr pool.

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