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Must See Museums in Cape Breton

Story by: Team Destination Cape Breton

Looking for an educational experience while visiting Cape Breton Island? Hoping to immerse yourself in Cape Breton’s rich history while travelling the Island? Well, you’re in luck here are seven ‘Must-See’ Museums in Cape Breton!

Must See Museums in Cape Breton 7

1. Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

Parks Canada’s Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site commemorates the genius and compassion of renowned inventor Alexander Graham Bell. Exhibits show how he and his associates achieved Canada’s first powered flight with their airplane Silver Dart, produced the world’s fastest boat, advanced recording technology, designed giant kites and, of course, invented the telephone. Original artifacts, films, and family photographs highlight his scientific and humanitarian work. Visitors can also enjoy hands-on activities and a variety of programs. Situated on 10 hectares of land with a superb view of the Bras d’Or Lake in Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, the site overlooks Bell’s summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, still privately owned by his descendants.

New for 2022:

Bell 100 – In celebration of the 175 years since Alexander Graham Bell’s birth and the 100 years since his death, the site pays tribute to his many inventions and innovations, as well as the lasting legacy that he and Mabel left behind in the community of Baddeck. Through special events, exhibits, and programming, visitors are invited to embrace their own spirit of innovation, curiosity, and creativity.

Mabel’s Gardens – Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site will celebrate Mabel’s contributions by beginning a new interpretive garden. Dr. Alana Pindar will monitor pollinator activity and the increases in biodiversity that will result from this legacy of Mabel Bell. Visitors can take home a part of this story with seeds from the museum gift shop to plant their own garden at home.

Must See Museums in Cape Breton

2. Cape Breton Miners Museum

The Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glace Bay pays tribute to the contribution of the region’s coal miners and coal mining industry. The museum also features a fascinating exhibit on the geological development of Cape Breton’s coal field. The Miners’ Village, located next to the museum, allows you to step back in time and visit a company store and a home from the period 1850–1900. Take an underground guided tour of the Ocean Deeps Colliery, a coal mine beneath the museum. If you are visiting during the summer months be sure to attend a “Men of the Deeps” concert.

What’s new? Immerse yourself in a virtual coal mine simulator.

Must See Museums in Cape Breton 1
Sydney Area/Marconi Trail

3. Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site 

On Cape Breton’s rocky shoreline south of Sydney, Nova Scotia, the Fortress of Louisbourg brings you back into one of North America’s busiest 18th-century seaports. Founded by the French in 1713, this one-quarter reconstruction of the original French town and fortifications is the largest – and best – of its kind in North America, offering a wealth of experiences for visitors to enjoy.

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4. Highland Village Museum/Baile nan Gàidheal

Discover North America’s only living history museum for Gaelic language and culture when you visit Highland Village Museum | Baile nan Gàidheal. Our breathtaking 43-acre site features one of the most unbelievable views of the Bras d’Or Lake, eleven historic buildings, including three frame houses (c1830-1900), a store, a carding mill, a church, a shingle mill and a forge.

Three people dresses in period clothing walk a trail that overlooks the ocean
Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village – Made of Stories – Experiential Tour 2

5. Membertou Heritage Park

Immerse yourself in an ancient Mi’kmaq culture at the Membertou Heritage Park. Touch, feel, and learn while experiencing first-hand the rich culture that is Membertou. Through interactive exhibits, learn the stories that celebrate Membertou and its people, or have a guided tour by one of our Heritage Interpreters. Through cultural workshops and presentations, you will spend time with community members who offer hands-on demonstrations and instructions about Mi’kmaq songs, dance, games, oral traditions and legends.

A child's hand holding up a dream catcher with an abundance of feathers.
9 Great Experiences in the Membertou Heritage Park 3

6. Les Trois Pignons: Museum of the Hooked Rug and Home Life

This museum features the Elizabeth LeFort Gallery and the Marguerite Gallant Collection and displays hundreds of antiques reflecting the daily life of the Chéticamp settlers. Prominent are examples of tools and demonstrations of techniques used in the creation of the world-renowned Chéticamp hooked rugs. The gallery showcases some of the finest works by local craftspeople and hooked traditional and contemporary rugs.

Les Trois Pignons: Museum of the Hooked Rug and Home Life 3
Les Trois Pignons: Museum of the Hooked Rug and Home Life 1

7. Cossit House Museum

Built in 1787, Cossit House is one of the oldest surviving houses in Sydney and possibly, one of the oldest buildings on Cape Breton Island.  Named for its original owner, Reverend Ranna Cossit, the house depicts 18th-century life and serves as the cornerstone of the city’s North-end Heritage Conservation District.

Following the American Revolution, Rev. Cossit was assigned to the British colony in Cape Breton that, at the time, was separate from mainland Nova Scotia.  Accompanied by his wife Thankful and their growing family, Rev. Cossit became the region’s first Anglican minister and assumed a key role in Sydney’s social and political development.

Join costumed interpreters for a tour of this remarkable house and discover firsthand what life was like for one family during the early days of settlement in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

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Must See Museums in Cape Breton 12
Team Destination Cape Breton 3

Team Destination Cape Breton

Our team at Destination Cape Breton is always exploring our beautiful Island. We love discovering our hidden gems, working with partners, and putting our Island on the pedestal it deserves!

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