In the heart of Fort Smith lies this must-see museum showcasing the area’s First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Euro-Canadian heritage. The Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre boasts a collection of over 13,000 artifacts, including traditional work of the Inuit, Inuvialuit, Dene and Métis who’ve made these lands their home for centuries.
Displays inside include a reconstructed trapper’s cabin, trading post, birchbark canoe, natural dioramas and hands-on exhibits of the fur trade. Guests can take a closer look at Frank Conibear’s famous trap, which revolutionized fur-harvesting. Or meet up with taxidermied Canus, a whooping crane sire who single-handedly brought Whooping Cranes back from the brink of extinction in nearby Wood Buffalo National Park.
This collection of artifacts began in the 1950s and was first displayed in Yellowknife’s St. Patrick’s School. It was moved to Hay River, then to Grandin College in Fort Smith, before making its home in the then newly-constructed Northern Life Museum in 1974.
As a Museum of the North, this cultural centre was created to reflect the factors of isolation, harsh climate, vast distance, sparse population, fur trade, missionaries, river transportation and the immense presence of the wilderness that define this spectacular territory.
Address: 110 King Street, Fort Smith, NT X0E 0P0
Phone Number: (867) 872-2859