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Civic Museum

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52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada

Civic 2

Celebrating Guelph’s stories!

The Guelph Civic Museum showcases Guelph’s history through permanent and changing exhibits, a fun and interactive families gallery, and special events and activities.  Located in the recently renovated Loretto Convent, atop the hill at Norfolk Street and beside the landmark Church of Our Lady, the museum is home to a collection of over 30,000 artifacts that bring Guelph’s past to life.

2012

Guelph Civic Museum opens at 52 Norfolk Street, the former Loretto Convent.

2000

The “Growing Up in Guelph Children’s Museum” opens at the Civic Museum. The popular children’s gallery attracts many more visitors and significantly increases the number of family memberships.

1980

Guelph Civic Museum opens at 6 Dublin Street South, a commercial limestone building built c.1855. The building had many uses over the years but was most recently known as the Knights of Columbus Hall.

1967

Canada’s Centennial Year. The Museum opens in its first home in the horse stables, now the Farmer’s Market.

1960’s

Members of the Guelph Historical Society begin to collect artifacts and displays are mounted in store fronts and community centres.

Upcoming Events

February 2020

Downtown EarlyON Playtime

February 19 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am
|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on December 11, 2019 at 9:30 am

One event on December 18, 2019 at 9:30 am

One event on January 8, 2020 at 9:30 am

One event on January 15, 2020 at 9:30 am

One event on January 22, 2020 at 9:30 am

One event on January 29, 2020 at 9:30 am

One event on February 5, 2020 at 9:30 am

One event on February 12, 2020 at 9:30 am

One event on February 19, 2020 at 9:30 am

One event on February 26, 2020 at 9:30 am

Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission.

Weekly program offerings for children from 0 to 6 years old and their families, offered through the EarlyON Child and Family Centre. Free drop-in family programming that promotes early learning and development from 9:30 to 11:30 AM on a weekly basis. The EarlyON Child and Family Centre at the Guelph Community Health Centre has been in existence since 2003. EarlyON has eight off-site Neighbourhood Playtimes and two main locations (Downtown and Stone Rd Mall) each providing a multitude of free drop-in and…

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History Bites: Into the Light

February 19 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Admission by donation

A NEW lunch hour series at the Civic Museum! Third Wednesday of the month, 12 to 1 p.m. Bring a brown bag lunch and join us for bite-sized history tours of our feature exhibitions. Let us know if you'll attend, please RSVP. Admission by donation.   Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern Ontario This exhibition of artistic, sensory, and material expressions of memory aims to bring one of Guelph’s dark secrets, as well as stories of survival, out of the…

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Military Lecture: Bison brigades and battle tactics during the Northwest Resistance

February 20 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Admission by donation

Jesse Thistle presents, Bison brigades and battle tactics during the Northwest Resistance. Métis life on the plains was extremely perilous. From century-long fights with the Sioux, to the massive and dangerous logistics of the bison hunt, Métis hunting tactics took on a battle-like precision run by a general known as the Captain of the Hunt. The Métis took their bison-hardened skills into battle during the Northwest Resistance, winning two battles against Canadian troops at Duck Lake and Fish Creek, and…

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Feeling Sound, Performing Access

February 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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$10
Gordon Monahan, Water Coiling (photo: Simon Vogel)

Image: Gordon Monahan, Water Coiling (photo: Simon Vogel) A vibrotactile performance by acclaimed artists Marla Hlady, Ellen Moffat and Gordon Monahan, curated by David Bobier. Using haptic systems (belts, pillows and floors that vibrate), the audience is invited into an immersive experience that extends beyond sight and sound to touch and motion. Co-presented by Guelph Museums and VibraFusionLab with support from the Musagetes Fund through the Guelph Community Foundation. The building is physically accessible and there will be ASL interpretation.…

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Fourth Friday: Sasha Henry and Aaron Ridge

February 28 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Free

Kick off your weekend with a performance by Sasha Henry and Aaron Ridge. On the Fourth Friday of the month, Guelph Museums offers free admission to the Guelph Civic Museum after 5 p.m. Performance by Sasha Henry and Aaron Ridge at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Presented in partnership with Guelph Black Heritage Society. Cash bar. Sponsored by: Sasha Henry always had a love for music but it wasn’t until she began singing that she discovered her passion for it.…

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March 2020

Downtown EarlyON Playtime

March 4 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am
|Recurring Event (See all)
Wednesdays, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission

Weekly program offerings for children from 0 to 6 years old and their families, offered through the EarlyON Child and Family Centre. Free drop-in family programming that promotes early learning and development from 9:30 to 11:30 AM on a weekly basis. The EarlyON Child and Family Centre at the Guelph Community Health Centre has been in existence since 2003. EarlyON has eight off-site Neighbourhood Playtimes and two main locations (Downtown and Stone Rd Mall) each providing a multitude of free drop-in and…

Find out more »

Tales from the Hill

March 4 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission

Join Guelph Guild of Storytellers and special guests on the first Wednesday of each month. Free admission.

Find out more »

Military Lecture: Spies in our Midst – The Damage to Canada

March 12 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Admission by donation

Dr. Wesley Wark presents, Spies in our Midst: The Damage to Canada A contemporary talk on a major Canadian spy case--the Delisle affair (2011)--involving a Canadian military officer who supplied secrets to the Russians for a four year period. The arrest of Lieutenant Jeffrey Delisle in January 2012 exposed the serious damage that espionage can cause to Canada's interests and revealed the challenges involved in uncovering and prosecuting spies. Delisle's case forced the first use of Canada's new official secrets…

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Guelph Circa 1999

March 14 @ 10:00 am - September 6 @ 5:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Man standing in front of a paneled wall. He is wearing a dark suit jacket and a collared shirt.

Like a time capsule, visitors will discover Guelph of 20 years ago. Told through the stories of the people who spent time at The Bookshelf, a cultural hub in this city since 1973, the exhibition also features artifacts from the 1990s and early 2000s.

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Lay of the Land

March 14 @ 10:00 am - September 6 @ 5:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Opening reception: Friday, March 27, 6 p.m. You are here! This interactive exhibition will orient visitors in time and place through an installation of maps, spanning time immemorial to present day. Lay of the Land invites all visitors to understand our complex relationship to the land, past and present, and to the place that we now call Guelph. On loan from Canadian Geographic is the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. Also displayed is a territory map of Treaty 3: Between…

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March Break Museum Camp – SOLD OUT

March 16 @ 8:00 am - March 20 @ 5:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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$192.14

Engage and explore at Museum Camp. Bring your curiosity and sense of wonder as we join museum educators for fun activities. Games, crafts, active outdoor time, and hands on, in-depth exploration with the exhibits are all part of your week. Come join us as we discover, create and learn together. Ages: 4 Yrs. to 8 Yrs. Register online at regexpress.guelph.ca, using code: 229209

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March Break at the Museum

March 16 @ 10:00 am - March 20 @ 5:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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General Admission

Guelph Civic Museum is the place to be during the March Break! Daily activities, with special guests and the museum programming team, weekdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. General admission. Monday           Pirates of the Museum Tuesday           Special Guest - Guelph Outdoor School Wednesday     Stylin’ 90s crafts Thursday         Special Guest- Wild Ontario Friday              Party Like It’s 1999

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History Bites: Behind the Scenes

March 18 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Admission by donation
Photo of a pear with a bite taken out of it. The event title "History Bites" is in blue text to the right of the pear.

A NEW lunch hour series on the third Wednesday of each month. Bring a brown bag lunch and join us for bite-sized history tours of featured exhibitions and collections. For this History Bites session, we'll take you behind-the-scenes and tour the Guelph Museums collection. See how the collection is preserved and view artifacts rarely seen on display. The Guelph Museums collection numbers over 40,000 items; objects, photographs, printed, audio-visual and digital material pertaining to the history and story of Guelph…

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Downtown EarlyON Playtime

March 25 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission

Weekly program offerings for children from 0 to 6 years old and their families, offered through the EarlyON Child and Family Centre. Free drop-in family programming that promotes early learning and development from 9:30 to 11:30 AM on a weekly basis. The EarlyON Child and Family Centre at the Guelph Community Health Centre has been in existence since 2003. EarlyON has eight off-site Neighbourhood Playtimes and two main locations (Downtown and Stone Rd Mall) each providing a multitude of free drop-in and…

Find out more »

Spring Exhibition Opening Reception

March 27 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission

Celebrate the opening of spring exhibitions, Guelph 1999 and Lay of the Land. Doors open 5 p.m., opening remarks at 6 p.m. Followed by a musical performance at 7 p.m. Free admission. Cash bar.

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Fourth Friday: Tannis Slimmon

March 27 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission
Black and white photo of Tannis sitting on a vintage looking couch. Tannis is holding a ball of white string lights.

Celebrate the opening of spring exhibitions, Lay of the Land and Guelph Circa 1999 with a performance by Tannis Slimmon. On the Fourth Friday of the month, Guelph Museums offers free admission to the Guelph Civic Museum after 5 p.m. Opening remarks at 6 p.m., performances by Tannis start at 7 p.m. Tannis will be joined by her talented partner/producer/co-writer/multi-instrumentalist Lewis Melville. Cash bar. Sponsored by:   About Tannis Slimmon: Tannis Slimmon is a critically acclaimed Canadian musician who has been singing,…

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No Word for Art

March 31 @ 10:00 am - May 3 @ 5:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
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April 2020

Tales from the Hill

April 1 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission

Join Guelph Guild of Storytellers and special guests on the first Wednesday of each month. Free admission.

Find out more »

History Bites: Guelph Circa 1999

April 15 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Admission by donation
Photo of a pear with a bite taken out of it. The event title "History Bites" is in blue text to the right of the pear.

A NEW lunch hour series on the third Wednesday of each month. Bring a brown bag lunch and join us for bite-sized history tours of featured exhibitions and collections. Admission by donation. Tickets in advance.  About Guelph Circa 1999: Like a time capsule, visitors will discover Guelph of 20 years ago. Told through the stories of the people who spent time at The Bookshelf, a cultural hub in this city since 1973, the exhibition also features artifacts from the 1990s…

Find out more »

The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War

April 22 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Admission by donation
Detail of Fighting History book cover. Image of young soldier holding a gunand wearing a green hat.

Award-winning Canadian military author Tim Cook will talk on his latest book “The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War". About The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War: A masterful telling of the way World War Two has been remembered, forgotten, and remade by Canada over seventy-five years. The Second World War shaped modern Canada. It led to the country's emergence as a middle power…

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School’s Out, Museum’s In PD Day

April 24 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on April 24, 2020 at 1:00 pm

Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
General Admission
Exterior of the Civic Museum during the day.

Maps and Codes and Signals, Oh My! On this PD Day, use games, puzzles, and crafts to practice the art of long-distance communication, and learn a secret code or two to use with friends! Two sessions, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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Fourth Friday: Murray Foster

April 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admisison
Photo of Murray Foster standing in front of a grey concrete building.

Before Doors Open After Dark 2020 officially kicks off, warm up with a free Fourth Friday concert by Murray Foster. On the Fourth Friday of the month, Guelph Museums offers free admission to the Guelph Civic Museum after 5 p.m. Performances by Murray Foster start at 7 p.m. Cash bar. Sponsored by: Stick around! Launching the Doors Open Guelph weekend, Doors Open After Dark will celebrate Guelph’s 193rd birthday with history and art activations at and around the Civic Museum. Connect, explore and engage with history…

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Doors Open After Dark 2020

April 24 @ 9:00 pm - April 25 @ 1:00 am
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Free admission
Three photo grid. Far left photo is the Civic Museum exterior lit up by purple and red lights. The center image is a close up of artist Tania Crook painting a boat on a person's arm. The photo on the far right is a close up of three people eating food from a foodtruck. One person is laughing with a sandwich in his hands and the other two people have their backs to the camera but their sandwiches are visible.

Celebrate Guelph’s 193rd birthday and kick off  Doors Open Guelph at the Civic Museum with live music, food trucks, and pop-up art and history installations at and around the museum. Connect, explore and engage with history in unique ways. Add Guelph Museums on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for event updates. Don't forget to share your photos and tag @guelphmuseums, #DoorsOpenAfterDark Call for Submissions: Doors Open After Dark Deadline: March 8, 2020 Have an idea for a big, bold, innovative history or art…

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May 2020

Liberation of Holland 75: Guelph Soldiers in the Second World War

May 5 @ 10:00 am - October 25 @ 5:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Find out more »

Tales from the Hill

May 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission

Join Guelph Guild of Storytellers and special guests on the first Wednesday of each month. Free admission.

Find out more »

Mother’s Day Tea

May 10 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)
Two seatings, 1 & 3 p.m.
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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$15
Photo of two china tea cups on a white background. Tea cup on the left is turquoise with gold floral details. The tea cup on the right is white with gold floral details.

Treat mom to an afternoon of tea, and treats at the Civic Museum. Relax and enjoy fresh scones, jam, shortbread cookies, fresh fruit and bottomless pots of McCrae Private Blend and Guelph Town Garden Blend teas. There will be two seatings: 1 and 3 p.m. Tickets in advance.

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Looking Twice

May 15 @ 7:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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Free admission

A poetry reading from Karen Houle's "The Grand River Watershed: A Folk Ecology" matched with artifacts and stories found in the museum’s gallery spaces. Karen has made the finalists list for the Governor General's Literary Award for this work. She will share readings from this collection which contemplates the complexities of the Grand River watershed in southern Ontario. Afterwards, mingle in the museum to view the many artifacts which are embedded in her poems. Karen will be available to share…

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History Bites: Lay of the Land

May 20 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Admission by donation
Photo of a pear with a bite taken out of it. The event title "History Bites" is in blue text to the right of the pear.

A NEW lunch hour series on the third Wednesday of each month. Bring a brown bag lunch and join us for bite-sized history tours of featured exhibitions and collections. Admission by donation. Tickets in advance.  About Lay of the Land: You are here! This interactive exhibition will orient visitors in time and place through an installation of maps, spanning time immemorial to present day. Lay of the Land invites all visitors to understand our complex relationship to the land, past and present, and…

Find out more »

Fourth Friday: River North (Matt Zaddy & Heather Christine)

May 22 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Free admission
Photo of Matt Zaddy and Heather Christine. Matt is on the left and is holding a guitar. Heather is on his right and is looking towards him with her hand on his shoulder.

Kick off your weekend with a performance by River North. On the Fourth Friday of the month, Guelph Museums offers free admission to the Guelph Civic Museum after 5 p.m. Performances by River North start at 7 p.m. Cash bar. Sponsored by: About River North: River North is a Mississauga based duo comprised of award-winning musicians Matt Zaddy and Heather Christine. Together these artists are partners in music and in life. River North combines soulful acoustic guitar and moving vocal…

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Fifth Friday Pub Night: Mapping Guelph’s Possible Energy Futures

May 29 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
+ Google Map
Admission by donation
5th Friday logo. "5th Friday Pub Night" in blue text. Pint of amber beer to the right. White background.

19+ Event, cash bar Have a drink with researchers from the U of G Geography Department, discuss the future of renewable energy in Guelph, and participate in an interactive mapping project. Admission by donation.

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