The Museum

Since 1959, the Vancouver Maritime Museum Society has worked to preserve and tell the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest and Arctic. 

The museum opened in 1959 as a provincial Centennial project. In 1972, the Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association assumed management of the museum on behalf of the City of Vancouver. In 1974, a separate Vancouver Maritime Museum Society was formed. In 1987, the VMPA split into three institutions, with the society board assuming management on behalf of the City. Our staff and Board of Trustees work to improve the museum, create a bright future, and strengthen the connection of our maritime history to the world today. 

The Vancouver Maritime Museum Society is a registered non-profit.

Mission

The Vancouver Maritime Museum celebrates the profound significance of the ocean and waterways of the Pacific and Arctic, through the preservation and growth of our extraordinary collection, and as a centre for dialogue, research and experience.

About Us

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is located within Vanier Park just west of False Creek on the Vancouver waterfront. The main exhibit is the St. Roch, an historic arctic exploration vessel used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The museum also has extensive galleries of model ships, including a particularly fine bone model of the French warship Vengeur du Peuple which was built around 1800 by French prisoners of war, a Children's Maritime Discovery Centre, a recreation of the fo'c'sle (forecastle) of Vancouver's ship Discovery, an extensive collection of maritime art, and a large library and archives.

Outdoor displays include the NASA undersea research vessel Ben Franklin and the boiler of the Beaver – the first steamship in the Pacific Northwest; the museum also has a small heritage harbour. There is a workshop where visitors can watch craftsmen build models. Of particular significance is the extensive Chung collection of material relating to Canadian Pacific Steamships and original hand drawn charts from Captain Cook's exploration of the Pacific.

The Museum is affiliated with CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.

Vision

  • We are the centre for conversation, education, research and knowledge about the ocean and waterways of the Pacific and Arctic.
  • We engage and support diverse communities and cultures to bring the stories of the Pacific and the Arctic to their members, residents of our region and to its visitors.
  • We are a maritime museum that conforms to the highest international standards and that anchors our activities, staff, volunteers and partners in a rich and growing collection of maritime artefacts.
  • We build partnerships with interested organizations to provide ever changing and engaging experiential education and activities for their members, residents of the region and its visitors, both in our space and through outreach programs.
  • We promote the science and the technology of our maritime industries.
  • We promote the opportunities that we enjoy as Canada’s gateway to Pacific trade and culture.

Management and Staff Structure

VMM has a core staff with the following full-time permanent positions - Executive Director, Finance and Administration Manager, Curator, Development Manager, Marketing Officer, Public Programming Officer, and Operations Coordinator. Permanent part-time staff includes: Librarian/Archivist, Accounting Clerk, Display Technician, Visitor Services Supervisor and a Volunteer Coordinator.  The museum has a roster of 17 part-time visitor services staff and 8 part-time programming staff. 

Volunteers

Volunteers play a significant and indispensable role in museum operations.  We are fortunate to have a large core group of dedicated volunteers.