Prince Edward Island has an interesting history. The local First Nations tribe, the Mi’kmaq, arrived over 11,000 years ago, and their descendants still live on the island. Then in the early 1700s European settlers arrived on Prince Edward Island’s shores seeking a better life.
This fascinating timeline has left its mark on Prince Edward Island and, as a result, the province is home to an interesting mix of museums. Here are our top 10 favourite museums on Prince Edward Island.
During the 17th and 18th Century French colonists settled in what is now Eastern Canada and New England. While many of them moved further inland and founded modern-day Quebec, the French settlers in Atlantic Canada (and part of northern New England) created their own administratively separate French colony, known as Acadia.
The Acadian Museum on Prince Edward Island aims to preserve and catalogue artefacts relating to Acadians in Prince Edward Island from 1720 onwards. As part of the museum, they also hold temporary exhibitions and annual events such as Christmas at the Museum and Celebrations of the Francophonie.
Alberton Museum & Genealogy Centre
Set in a former town courthouse and jail built in 1878, Alberton Museum & Genealogy showcases the activities carried out by Prince Edward Island’s earliest settlers. Displays include the early fishing industry, military history, silver fox industry, house hauling, early pharmacy, cooper shop, cobbler shop, local historic crafts, housewares, and local folk art. Its collection of historical photographs is actually the largest in the area.
Anne of Green Gables Museum
Prince Edward Island is home to the landscape that inspired the acclaimed children’s classic, Anne of Green Gables. The Anne of Green Gables Museum at the beautiful Campbell Homestead is a museum dedicated to the life and works of the book’s author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.
On this 110-acre property, you will find beautiful gardens, a gift shop with licensed Anne of Green Gables products, a view of the Lake of Shining Waters, Matthews Carriage Rides, and a children’s playground.
Beaconsfield Historic House
Built in 1877 for wealthy shipbuilder and merchant James Peake. Beaconsfield stands as an enduring symbol of Victorian elegance. Today visitors are welcome to tour its Victorian furnished rooms and enjoy the view of the Charlottetown Harbour. Beaconsfield Historic House hosts a variety of lectures, concerts and other special events in its Carriage House. One of seven Museum and Heritage PEI sites. Heritage Passports are available.
Canadian Potato Museum & Antique Farm Machinery Museum
Potato farming is one of Prince Edward Island’s largest industries. At this self-guided museum, you can learn about the importance of the potato to the province. You’ll find photographs, artefacts, graphics, antique machinery and gift shop with a potato theme.
The Farmers’ Bank of Rustico & Doucet House Museums
The Farmers’ Bank of Rustico, a National Historic Site, operated from 1864 to 1894 as the first people’s bank and is credited with being “the precursor of the credit union movement in North America”. The museum describes the settlement of the community by the Acadians and the establishment of the bank by Father Georges-Antoine Belcourt, and Genealogical Centre of Rustico Acadian families. The Doucet House (c. 1772) Acadian log house offers interpretive programs.
Green Gables Heritage Place
Visit the very place that inspired the classic children’s tale. In addition to the Green Gables House, several museums and sites invite visitors to learn more about Anne and Montgomery and a popular musical performance of the story runs every summer at the Charlottetown Festival.
Lennox Island Mi’kmaq Cultural Centre
Mi’kmaq is a First Nations tribe native to the Atlantic Canada area. On Lennox Island, you can stop by the Lennox Island Mi’kmaq Cultural Centre, which was opened in 2000. The centre has interpretive displays that explore the history, culture, language, spirituality and religion of the Mi’kmaq people from pre-colonisation through to the present day.
You can also book a guided tour The Path of Our Forefathers, which is a stacked-loop nature trail that includes stories of traditional forest use, local history, local ecology and family history (there are also information points along the way if you wish to explore the path yourself).
Orwell Corner Historic Village
At the Orwell Corner Historic Village you can immerse yourself in the agricultural activities of this Prince Edward Island town in the 1890s. Visit the working blacksmith shop, wander through the gardens and have a picnic outside the old schoolhouse or by a scenic look-off to the beautiful Orwell Bay.
West Point Lighthouse Inn & Museum
Ever dreamt of sleeping in a lighthouse? The 4-star West Point Lighthouse Inn features 13 contemporary rooms and the rare opportunity to stay in a lighthouse. The adjacent museum is home to one of the island’s most complete collections of lighthouse information and memorabilia.
Let us know in the comments which museum is your favourite!