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Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre Guided Tours

Beluga exhibit at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre

Take a 45-minute journey through the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) and explore its galleries as our guides share with you stories, works of art, and culture and heritage objects from across the Northwest Territories.

Tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 pm in English and 4 pm in French.

No advance registration is required, and tours are free. Tours begin in the main entrance.

Historical Aviation Museum

Aviation Museum building in Norman Wells NWT

Located at the North-Wright dock on DOT (Department of Transport) Lake, the historical aviation museum consists of two log buildings — one the original North-Wright base, and the other built by Canoe North Adventures as a shelter for paddlers in transit. In addition, there are also several smaller buildings on the premises once used by the four airlines that historically operated in Norman Wells — Canadian Pacific, Nahanni Air Services, Northward Air and North-Wright Airways. The buildings, and an open-air hangar for a gull-wing floatplane, are all part of a working museum designed to appeal to visitors and provide freight and cargo services.  

Hay River Heritage Centre

Located in Hay River’s Old Town, this museum occupies the community’s former Hudson’s Bay store, built in 1948. In it, you’ll find displays showcasing the various eras of the town’s history, as well as exhibits on Métis and K’atl’odeeche Dene culture. 

Legislative Assembly Building of the Northwest Territories

NWT Legislative Assembly chamber in Yellowknife

Perched on the shores of Yellowknife’s Frame Lake, the territorial assembly building is the centre of political power for the Northwest Territories.

Inside this architectural gem, members from each of the territory’s 19 ridings serve in a unique consensus government that is studied and admired the world over. It is essentially a parliament led by a permanent minority; members elect a premier, seven Cabinet ministers and a Speaker from their own ranks. It has become a landmark and a symbol of a stable, responsible government that is close to the people it serves (the average riding has just over 2,300 residents).

As one of Canada’s youngest legislatures, the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories changed frequently in its early years. The government of the NWT was based in Ottawa for decades before officially moving to Yellowknife in 1967. Members were added and the Assembly’s responsibilities grew, but it was without a permanent home until 1993 when the current building was completed. The Legislative Assembling building’s circular shape represents the NWT’s consensus style of governing, and the materials used in its architecture are meant to complement the natural landscape around it.

Take a guided tour is highly recommended and you’ll get a peek at the stately assembly chamber and its polar bear hide; the diamond-tipped territorial mace; artworks by Group of Seven master A.Y. Jackson; intricate, ornate carvings by Northern artists; plus exhibits capturing the dynamic political evolution of the Northwest Territories. The great hall is open to the public and regularly used for concerts, events, and even weddings.

 

Address: 4517 – 48th Street, Yellowknife NT  X1A 2L9

Phone: (867) 669-2200

Colville Lake Museum

Colville Lake museum int he Northwest Territories

Surely the comfiest, quaintest museum in the entire Northwest Territories, this hand-built log structure in the tiny community of Colville Lake was once the home of famed local priest, pilot and town-founder Bern Will Brown. An Oblate priest in the Catholic church, Brown first came to the Arctic in 1948. He spent the next six decades as a Northerner, building this log cabin in the town that became his home, along with the Our Lady of the Snows church. Inside visitors will find many of Brown’s paintings, fur pelts and other local artefacts, along with the North’s first-ever snowmobile. 

Norman Wells Historical Society

A woman looking at some indigenous hand made gloves in the Norman Wells Historical Society gift shop in the NWT.

Norman Wells – or Tłegǫ́hłı̨ (Thleh-go-lee) which translates to “where there is oil” – is a quaint little community nestled along the Mackenzie River with an incredibly rich history. At the Norman Wells Historical Centre/Museum, we are proud to be a hub for the ongoing preservation of that history and a destination for cultural appreciation. From oil and gas to aviation, big game hunting outfits to traditions of the Dene people – there is something for everyone.

In addition, The Great Bear Gift Shop carries many traditional crafts from Sahtu Regional artists along with gifts for any occasion.

We look forward to seeing you!

Mahsi Cho,

The Museum Staff

Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre

View of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and Frame Lake on a sunny day in Yellowknife.

The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) has it all—from airplanes and gold-mining memorabilia to ancient archeological artifacts and a Dene moose hide boat.

Journey through the PWNHC and explore its art galleries/artwork, and culture and heritage objects from across the NWT.

The PWNHC is much more than just a museum; It houses over 75,000 objects in its collection, along with 350,000 photos, maps and rare books preserved in the archives. It’s a community space, a cultural centre and an important supporter of the arts. The Centre hosts a wide variety of exhibits and public programming with a quick turnaround.

Visit www.pwnhc.ca to learn more about available tours, and what programs are available.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Located within walking distance of downtown Yellowknife.

Contact Information: 

4750 48th Street | P.O. Box 1320
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9 Canada
Tel: 867-767-9347 ext. 71472

Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre

A woman in the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre holding up an animal pelt and smiling in Fort Smith Northwest Territories.

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.

Contact Information

Address: 110 King Street, Fort Smith, NT  X0E 0P0

Phone Number: (867) 872-2859

Email: info@nlmcc.ca