Ottawa has had several hundred years of European exploration and settlement, not to mention been settled for thousands of years of First Nations peoples. These museums provide a background on the local heritage.

Don’t forget to check out the many national museums reflecting Canada’s history and culture.

Billings Estate Museum

2100 Cabot St Ottawa K1H 6K1
613-247-4830 fax: 613-247-4832

Explore the home of one of Ottawa’s founding families. This home overlooks the Rideau and Ottawa River and has 3 hectares of grounds, great for picnics. Displays include furniture, textiles, photos and documents of the estate and five generations of the Billings family. Allow at least 30 minutes. Open May – October Tue-Sun noon to 5 pm. Admission. (OC Transpo #87, 97, 149)

Bytown Museum

1 Canal Ln, Ottawa, ON K1P 5P6
(Off Wellington St, below the Chateau Laurier
Use steps on west side of canal beside Chateau, or ramp by NAC)
613-234-4570 Parks Canada fax: 613-234-4816

This building used to house the treasury and storehouse used by the Royal Engineers and Lt Col. John By during the building of the Rideau Canal. Rooms are furnished with period furniture and decorations, plus exhibits that cover the early history of Ottawa. Open mid-May to mid-October, Mon-Sat 10 am to 5 pm, Sun 1 pm to 5 pm; April to mid-May and mid-October to Nov 30, weekdays 10 to 4 pm. Admission.Skead Mill Ruins at Kitchissippi Lookout

Cumberland Heritage Village

2940 Queen St, Cumberland (20 minutes east of Ottawa on old highway 17)
613-833-3059

This living history museum features 20 buildings with costumed interpreters and special events to showcase the lifestyle, occupations and industry of the Ottawa Valley in the early 1900s. Open May-Oct daily 10 am to 5 pm, and during Christmas Season. Admission: adults $5, students & seniors $3, children under 4 free.

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

2940 Old Montreal Rd, Cumberland
*(1 km east of Cumberland, on highway 17 E)
 (613) 580-2988

This historic village depicts life in the lower Ottawa Valley from 1880 to 1935. The village includes 14 buildings include a train station, church, school, and provides historically oriented events throughout the summer Open May to August Tuesday – Sunday, and in September & October Weekday afternoons.

Goulbourn Museum

2064 Huntley Rd, Stittsville
(at Stanley’s Corners)
613-831-2393

This museum is housed in the 1873 Township Hall, and includes items donated by the township residents and their descendants. This museum traces the history of Goulbourn from early settlement by veterans of the War of 1812, and includes displays of that war, family farms, and rural schools. The Museum is also the starting point for Goulbourn’s “Heritage Trail,” a driving route which passes many stone houses and early commercial structures dating back as far as 1820. The museum is open year-round Tuesday to Friday 12:30 to 3:30 pm, and May to October also Sundays 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Nepean Museum

16 Rowley Dr, Nepean, ON K2G 1L9
613-723-7936

This community museum features 15 displays about Nepean’s history going back to the 1790s, plus rotating exhibits, a Discovery Gallery modelled after an early 1900s store, and a children’s discovery centre.. Open Tues-Fri 10 am to 4 pm, and weekends 1 pm – 4 pm. Closed Mondays. Free Admission.

Rideau Township Archives

PO Box 310, 6581 Fourth Line Rd (Main Street), North Gower K0A 2W0
Take exit 49 from the 416, head west on Roger Stevens Drive, right at Fourth Line
613-489-2926

This archives collects historical information about Rideau township, and the towns of North Gower, Manotick and Kars, and includes the municipal records since 1791. Exhibits have included antique dolls, period clothing, firefighting, and early schooling in the district. Open Mondays 7 pm to 9 pm, Tuesday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm or by appointment. Admission free or by donation.