Nepean Museum

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About us

The Nepean Museum is a space where kids and families can learn and explore together. The exhibition gallery showcases Nepean’s history through a series of changing exhibits. With many fun hands-on events, programs and exhibitions, you’ll find lots to discover together.

Hours and admission

Hours of operation:

Wednesday - Sunday
10 am to 4:30 pm

*Please note that the museum will be closed Friday, July 1. 

Book your visit online.

Admission:

Admission is by donation.

*Special pricing may apply for programs and events.

Programs and special events

Craftspace

Saturdays from July 16 through August 6.
10 am to 11 am.
Ages 3 to 5.
Cost: $6.75 per child. Parental/guardian supervision is required (no cost for adult accompanying participating child).
Advance registration is required.

Get creative and engage with the museum’s collection through play! Each week we’ll complete a craft or artmaking activity inspired by a unique object with a heritage theme.

This program will be delivered in English. If you have questions or concerns regarding accessibility, please don’t hesitate to contact the museum at 613-580-9638 or museums@ottawa.ca. Additional information about accessibility can be found on the museum webpage.

Registration is completed using the Service Ottawa online system with the barcodes listed below. You can also find the program listing by navigating to “Activity Search”, clicking on “Advanced Search”, and searching for the keyword “Nepean Museum”.

Saturday, July 16 - Sidewalk chalk quilt
Inspired by traditional quilt making, this activity will explore shapes and colours.
Barcode: 1635595. 
Registration deadline: July 9.
Note: This program will take place outdoors. We recommend bringing sunscreen and water. In the event of inclement weather, the activity will move indoors.

Saturday, July 23 - Build your own toy
Using wooden heritage toys as a model, build your own creation using recycled materials.
Barcode: 1635596. 
Registration deadline: July 16.
Note: Bring recycled cardboard and plastics from home for toy construction.

Saturday, July 30 - Painting with natural inks
Discover how fabric was once dyed using natural pigments and make ink from ingredients you might find in your own garden or cupboard.
Barcode:1635597. 
Registration deadline: July 23.
Note: Please have your child wear clothes that can get dirty. Allergy notice - Natural inks will be made from onion skins, blueberries, strawberries, and mustard powder. If you have questions about the natural inks being used in this program, please contact the museum at 613-580-9638 or museums@ottawa.ca

Saturday, August 6 - Neighbourhood collage
Explore Nepean’s past through photographs while building a collage using a variety of fun shapes and colours.
Barcode: 1635598.
Registration deadline: July 30.
Note: Bring a copy of a photo depicting your neighbourhood, or your favourite place in your neighbourhood, to incorporate into your collage.

History Hackers

Saturdays from July 16 through August 20.
1 pm to 4 pm.
Ages 6 to 9.
Cost: $12 per child.
Advance registration is required.

Explore how Nepean’s material past transformed over time through science, technology, engineering, art, and math (S.T.E.A.M.). Get hands-on with unique activities that combine tech and history in a different way each week.

This program is 3 hours in length with a short break in the middle. Parents/guardians are encouraged to send their child with water, sunscreen, and a small peanut-free snack. Museum staff will assist participants with any assembly including sewing, hot glue, etc., and safety glasses will be worn. Most sessions will include some use of electronics (e.g. circuits, iPad, iPhone, etc.). Some electronic equipment may produce buzzing noises or small flashing lights. A community room will be available as a quiet zone if a break from noises or activities is needed.

This program will be delivered in English. If you have questions or concerns regarding accessibility, please don’t hesitate to contact the museum at 613-580-9638 or museums@ottawa.ca. Additional information about accessibility can be found on the museum webpage.

Registration is completed using the Service Ottawa online system with the barcodes listed below. You can also find the program listing by navigating to “Activity Search”, clicking on “Advanced Search”, and searching for the keyword “Nepean Museum”.

Saturday, July 16 - E-quilting
Discover the history of quilting and its connection to the Ottawa Valley. Collaborate on a quilt that incorporates e-textiles (electronic circuits and lights).
Barcode: 1635674.
Registration deadline: July 9.

Saturday, July 23 - Movie-making
Write a script inspired by a historic photograph and use a greenscreen to film a short movie with your chosen photo as the backdrop.
Barcode: 1635675. 
Registration deadline: July 16.
Note: Avoid wearing green to prevent issues with using the greenscreen.

Saturday, July 30 - Toy-making
Build a toy inspired by the museum’s collection of heritage toys, explore how you can give it special abilities, and then put it to the test in a series of friendly competitions.
Barcode:1635676.
Registration deadline: July 23.

Saturday, August 6 - Stop-motion animation
Investigate how toys are constructed and give your chosen toy a story and voice by making a short stop-motion animated movie.
Barcode: 1635677. 
Registration deadline: July 30.

Saturday, August 13 - Build a mini city
Explore how Nepean’s landscape has evolved then put your new urban planning skills to work as you collaborate to build a mini city with the group.
Barcode: 1635678.
Registration deadline: August 6. 

Saturday, August 20 - Morse code workshop
Learn about the history and use of Morse code then build a Morse code machine and use it to decode secret messages.
Barcode: 1635599.
Registration deadline: August 13.

Tales of the magical museum

Sundays from July 17 through August 21.
2 pm to 4:30 pm.
Ages 9 to 12.
Cost: $6.75 per child.
Advance registration is required.

Join the quest! Ever wondered if a museum comes to life when no one is looking? Each week participants will adventure through local history and engage with the museum’s collection as they work together to solve clues and puzzles that blend fact with fantasy in a roleplaying game inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. Along the way, they’ll encounter historical figures as well as talking buildings, gnomes, elves, and much, much, more.

Each week will feature a stand-alone quest. Weekly attendance is encouraged as participants will build their personal gameplay knowledge and skills, but it is not required. Participants are welcome to register for a single date or the entire series. No prior gameplay experience is needed to join the fun!

This program will be delivered in English. If you have questions or concerns regarding accessibility, please don’t hesitate to contact the museum at 613-580-9638 or museums@ottawa.ca. Additional information about accessibility can be found on the museum webpage.

Registration is completed using the Service Ottawa online system with the barcodes listed below. You can also find the program listing by navigating to “Activity Search”, clicking on “Advanced Search”, and searching for the keyword “Nepean Museum”.

Barcodes:

Sunday, July 17 (registration deadline: July 10) - 1635600.
Sunday, July 24 (registration deadline: July 17) - 1635601.
Sunday, July 31 (registration deadline: July 24) - 1635602.
Sunday, August 7 (registration deadline: July 31) - 1635603.
Sunday, August 14 (registration deadline: August 7) - 1635604.
Sunday, August 21 (registration deadline: August 14) - 1635605.

Collections and exhibits

Virtual Exhibition - Cabinet of Curiosities 

Cabinets of curiosities displayed the strange and the scientific, the weird and the wonderful. Our team has gone through our collections and picked out the artefacts that appeal most to them to create our very own cabinet of curiosities. You can enjoy this exhibition from the comfort of your own home while learning the history of each artefact and why it stood out to our staff. Enter Cabinet of Curiosities here!

Permanent exhibition - Rural Roots and City Streets 

Nepean: Rural Roots and City Streets explores this essential piece of Ottawa’s history. Using dozens of photos, artefacts, and interactive elements, this new, permanent exhibition spans the full history of Nepean from its use by Algonguin peoples from time immemorial, up until Nepean’s amalgamation with Ottawa at the turn of the 21st Century.

Temporary exhibition - Water: A Journey to the Source 

Water: A Journey to the Source is a special exhibition exploring how Ottawans have obtained, used, abused, and conserved this precious resource. It takes visitors from the frigid depths of the ancient Champlain Sea to the warm baths of Victorian spas and through the inner workings of our modern water treatment plants. Stories of whales and well diggers, water witches and waterworks engineers join never-before-seen artefacts to tell the cultural and social history of water in our city and region.

Our volunteers

The City of Ottawa Museums are committed to offering residents meaningful and rewarding volunteer experiences.

Heritage volunteers play an invaluable role in preserving our unique heritage and in providing museum visitors of all ages with opportunities to appreciate our shared story.

Thank you to all our volunteer team members for their continued support.

Due to COVID-19 modified operations, the museums are not currently accepting new volunteers. If you have any questions about the volunteer program or would like to be notified when volunteering resumes, please contact heritagevolunteers@ottawa.ca.

Rentals

We are regularly updating our rental program according to public health guidelines. For more information, please contact our Customer Service Booking Clerk. Call 613-580-9638 or email museums@ottawa.ca.

Please note: rentals must comply with all conditions of use in place for managing risks associated with COVID-19.

Update (March 1, 2022): Renters of City facilities may choose to request proof of vaccination. In such cases, the Ontario enhanced vaccine certificate (QR code), confirming you have received two doses of a Health Canada approved vaccine, is the only option accepted for proof of vaccination.

Accessibility

Work with us to shape your experience. Contact the museum before your visit to discuss your needs. Information about accessibility at the facility, programs, and services is available upon request.

The accessibility features of this facility are detailed below. While the City of Ottawa is constantly working to improve access, please note that not all parts of every facility are necessarily 'accessible for all' as facilities were built to meet accessibility standards of their time.

Parking

  • 3 designated parking spaces
  • Accessible path of travel from the parking lot to entrance
  • 20 metres from parking space to the door

Entrance/Exit

  • 2 accessible entrances
  • Entrances marked with the International Symbol of Accessibility
  • Ramp
  • Wide door for wheelchair passage
  • Automatic door opener
  • Direct access to the main floor, lobby, elevator

Interior 

  • All public spaces on accessible path of travel
  • Ramps or elevators to all levels
  • Accessible seating available

Reception desks

  • Floor area for manoeuvring a wheelchair
  • Swipe access from seated position

Signage

  • Large lettering

Washrooms

  • Located on lower level
  • Automatic door opener
  • Large stalls to allow transfers
  • Universal (gender-neutral)

Elevator/Lift

  • Access to all floors
  • One-wheelchair lift
  • Located between the two entrances

Telephone

  • Volume control
  • Accessible path

Museums/Galleries/Archives

  • All exhibition spaces are accessible
  • Captioned videos
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Good visibility for patrons in wheelchairs
  • Interpretative labels/panels in large font 

Learn more about Inclusive Recreation and accessible services.