Permanent Exhibits

With the Museum’s relocation in 2008 to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, staff were able to expand the size and diversity of our permanent exhibits.

Building upon the rich history and culture of Nanaimo’s past the Museum’s permanent exhibits take visitors on a visual journey. Highlighting the industries that helped shape the city in addition to First Nations history and the lifestyles of city residents, a tour through the museum’s gallery is an informative and rewarding experience not to be missed.

Permanent Exhibits

Educating Nanaimo

Educating Nanaimo gives visitors a feeling of what it would be like inside of a mid-1920s school room. This classroom features many elements of an early Nanaimo school room,... Learn More

The Bastion Era

The Bastion Era takes a look at the most famous building in Nanaimo that was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1853. The exhibit also features the arrival of... Learn More

Hub City

Hub City takes an intriguing look at the city’s past. Comprised  of several different elements, this exhibit highlights the commercial  development  of Nanaimo, Chinatown, as well as a feature... Learn More


Timber! explores the historical impact of the forestry industry on the region. Discover the importance of logging, sawmills, and pulp manufacturing through interpretive panels, fascinating models, and informative displays. In... Learn More

The Snunéymuxw

The Snunéymuxw exhibit is your gateway to an interactive journey of discovery. See what daily life was like in a traditional longhouse and gain knowledge of the objects used... Learn More

The Harbour

The Harbour provides an intriguing look at the evolution of Nanaimo’s harbour as a hub of activity involving transportation and trade, and its function as a shipping port for coal... Learn More

The Coal Mine

The Coal Mine is an award-winning, popular exhibit that was built with help from scenic artists working in the movie industry. The coal mine shaft is as close to... Learn More


This exhibit explores over 100 years of nightlife, the arts, sports, recreation at home and community celebrations, including Nanaimo’s World Championship Bathtub Race.  Nanaimo gained an international reputation for... Learn More

The Welcome Area

What makes Nanaimo unique?  The Welcome Area showcases local “firsts” and highlights. The Adopt an Artifact display in this area showcases the important role community members have played in... Learn More