Naval Museum of Halifax

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Naval Museum of Halifax
Maritime Command Museum.jpg
Established 1974
Location 2725 Gottingen Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Type Naval museum

Official name Admiralty House National Historic Site of Canada
Designated 1978

The Naval Museum of Halifax (Admiralty House) is a Canadian Forces museum and National Historic Site of Canada located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, which collects, preserves and displays the artifacts and history of the Royal Canadian Navy.[1] From 1974 to 2013 it was named the Maritime Command Museum.

The museum is located in the historic Admiralty House within CFB Halifax and is open to the public year-round.

Admiralty House[edit]

Admiralty House Halifax

The museum occupies Admiralty House, which served as the official residence of the admiral commanding the North American Station of the British Royal Navy from 1819 to 1905. Construction of the large Palladian Style Georgian house overlooking the Halifax Naval Yard began in 1814. Squadron commanders previously resided aboard a flagship moored at the Naval Yard. The house was completed in 1819. It became the summer residence of the admiral of the North American Squadron when the squadron shifted its main base to Bermuda in 1818. As the residence of one of the most important officials in Halifax, Admiralty House hosted many social and ceremonial events in the 19th century. One of the largest was a ball for 600 guests hosted by Admiral Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald in 1848.[2] Another famous resident of the house was Admiral Francis Austen, brother of the famous novelist Jane Austen. In all, 36 admirals lived in the house, the last being Sir Day Hort Bosanquet.[3]

Admiralty House was taken over by the Canadian government in 1905 as Canada took responsibility for the Halifax Dockyard from the British Royal Navy.[4] In World War I it served as a naval hospital. The roof was blown in by the Halifax Explosion on December 6, 1917. Despite the damage, hospital staff, many of them injured themselves, treated many wounded in the house in the hours after the explosion. After repairs, the house was used as a clinic by the Massachusetts Halifax Relief Commission to assist survivors after the explosion. From 1925 to 1954 it became part of the Royal Canadian Navy base HMCS Stadacona, serving as a Wardroom Officer's Mess and later as office space. In 1961 it became the library for the Royal Canadian Navy and provided classroom space.[5]


Entrance to the Museum

Admiralty House was officially opened as a museum on March 26, 1974, by Rear Admiral D. S. Boyle.[6] The house was declared a National Historic Site in 1978.[7] The museum underwent extensive renovations in 2009–2010. The collection consists of uniforms, model ships, medals, badges, ships' bells, armaments, and other equipment of naval life. The focus is on the history of the Canadian Navy from 1910 to the present, along with the earlier history of the Halifax Dockyard. Highlights include the original bell and a large display of artifacts from HMCS Niobe, the first flagship of the Royal Canadian Navy, and a display of ship's bells and christening bells spanning the history of the Canadian Navy. The museum also maintains a research library, archives and large photograph collection.[8] More than 30 rooms of exhibits are open to the public as well as grounds which display weapons and equipment from the Canadian Navy. The museum is accessed through the Stadacona Gate of CFB Halifax or by a pedestrian entrance directly from Gottingen Street. The name Maritime Command Museum was changed to the Naval Museum of Halifax in July 2013.[9]


Royal Navy Burying Ground[edit]

Royal Navy Burial Ground - Gravestones for the casualties of the USS  Chesapeake (left) and HMS Shannon (right), CFB Halifax, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Royal Navy Burying Ground at Halifax has monuments to those served and lost in the medical facility as a result of capture of USS Chesapeake by HMS Shannon. There are 84 grave markers, but as many as 500 people buried.[10]


The museum is part of a system of 55 museums run by the Canadian Department of National Defence. It is the largest naval museum within the system.[6] The museum is also affiliated with the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) and works jointly with Nova Scotia's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to present the naval history of the region.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A-AD-266-000/AG-001 Canadian Forces Museums –Operations and Administration 2002-04-03
  2. ^ Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, Founded Upon a Rock, (1967), p. 28
  3. ^ Erickson, Paul A. Historic North End Halifax Nimbus Publishing, Halifax (2004) p. 25
  4. ^ Parker, Mike, Fortress Halifax: Portrait of a Garrison Town Nimbus, Halifax (2004), p. 42
  5. ^ Founded Upon a Rock, p. 28
  6. ^ a b "Maritime Command Museum", Maritime Forces Atlantic, The Canadian Navy
  7. ^ Admiralty House. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  8. ^ Great Stuff: Museums of Nova Scotia, James Stonehouse Publications (1993) p. 93
  9. ^ "It is Now the Naval Museum of Halifax", Halifax Chronicle Herald, July 10, 2013
  10. ^ "Unmarked graves sought in navy cemetery". CBC. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°39′34.5″N 63°35′33.5″W / 44.659583°N 63.592639°W / 44.659583; -63.592639