At the core of the Manitoba Museum’s mission is the extensive collection of artifacts and specimens developed, documented, and cared for by a team of curators, collections staff, and conservators. The Museum also maintains a library and institutional archive, including an ever-growing collection of contemporary oral histories.
The Manitoba Museum collections are a rich and diverse representation of the province’s human and natural history. Collections are divided into overarching disciplines, each with a dedicated curator who is supported by collections and conservation staff. The Human History collection is comprised of Archaeology, History, Anthropology, and the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection. The Natural History collection includes Botany, Paleontology & Geology, and Zoology. The Museum collections are a vital resource for researchers, scientists, and museums in Canada and around the world. They are the pillar for our many long-term and special exhibitions. They greatly enhance our learning and engagement programs designed for students, adults, and visitors both on-site and virtual, providing insight, education, entertainment, and inspiration.
The Manitoba Museum’s extensive collections are used to help us understand how the province has changed and continues to change over time. Collections and related research by Museum curators and research partnerships have significant impact on a local, national, and global scale. It advances community initiatives, knowledge and skill repatriation, and contributes to scholarly research and publications. Research helps to inform provincial, national, and global initiatives and policies. For natural history research can contribute to help society protect vulnerable species and ecosystems from potential decline or extinction.
The Manitoba Museum collections reach diverse audiences, particularly those visiting the Museum and local communities, researchers, other museums, artists, and students both locally and from around the world. Our reach includes the rest of Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, France, and China, just to name a few.
Most artifacts and specimens are received through generous donations and bequests, while others are collected as part of a curator’s fieldwork or purchased by the Museum. We are entrusted by the people of Manitoba with the responsibility to preserve, protect, research, and interpret collections that represent the natural and human history of the province. We take this role very seriously.
At any given time, it is only possible to display a fraction of our 2.9 million artifacts and specimens – including some of the most striking ones – in the Museum Galleries. The majority of the collections are carefully preserved in special humidity and temperature-controlled vaults.