Skip to main content

Naval Museum of Halifax celebrates its 50th year

The Naval Museum of Halifax is celebrating more than 50 years in operation. The building is located on the grounds of Canadian Forces Base Halifax Stadacona. Originally completed in 1818, it has served many functions, including being the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the North American Station of the Royal Navy. It opened its doors to the public as the Maritime Command Museum in 1974.  It was later changed to the Naval Museum of Halifax in 2013. The Naval Museum of Halifax is celebrating more than 50 years in operation. The building is located on the grounds of Canadian Forces Base Halifax Stadacona. Originally completed in 1818, it has served many functions, including being the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the North American Station of the Royal Navy. It opened its doors to the public as the Maritime Command Museum in 1974. It was later changed to the Naval Museum of Halifax in 2013.
Share

Inside the gates of Canadian Forces Base Halifax Stadacona sits Admiralty House, a more than 200-year-old building that has served many functions in its lifetime.

Completed in 1818, the building was used for many years as the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the North American Station of the Britain’s Royal Navy.

Now home to the Naval Museum of Halifax, director Jennifer Denty told CTV News Friday, they like to think of the building as their largest artifact.

From serving as a home to British admirals to providing assistance during the Halifax Explosion in 1917 to its current role as museum, Denty says the facility plays a critical role in telling the history of the navy.

“These halls are hallowed,” she said. “Not only was it a hospital in the First World War, it was one of the sites where the Boston doctors came and provided care to Halifax’s North End.”

Denty says the museum celebrates the navy’s high points, along with providing space to add context to some of the more challenging moments in its history.

In 1905, the house was taken over by the Canadian government.

From 1925-1954, Admiralty House was used as a navy wardroom, offices and living quarters.

It was eventually turned into a library and school.

In March of 1974, it officially opened as the Maritime Command Museum. That name changed to Naval Museum of Halifax in 2013.

Over its three floors, the museum offers a diverse collection of photos, archives, and is reference library.

Part of the current exhibitions include Ready Aye Ready: The Founding of the Royal Canadian Navy; and After the Explosion: Rebuilding Halifax’s North End.

It also includes an exhibit on women in the navy.

“Some of our more challenging stories that we tell, are not to throw mud in the face of the navy, but to just explain a little about the times,” Denty added. “Our history of women in the navy exhibit downstairs. Women weren’t allowed to enlist at the start of the navy, and it wasn’t a specifically a navy issue, it was society.”

During the Second World War, the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service was created.

Often called "Wrens," nearly 7,000 women joined up and performed a variety of on-shore non-combatant roles both in Canada and abroad.

As part of Friday’s 50th birthday celebration, a room within the museum was dedicated to Rear-Admiral Hugh F. Pullen, an early champion of naval history, who was instrumental in founding the Maritime Museum of Canada.

The museum is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Naval Museum of Halifax.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez publicly list their house for sale

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have added a tiny bit of fuel to the fire surrounding their marriage. Amid speculation that the pair are struggling in their relationship after marrying about two years ago, the couple has listed their 12-bedroom, 24-bathroom California home for sale.

Stay Connected