City of Waterloo Museum

All rec facilities and the city museum are closed. We will contact you with further information if you were registered for recreation programs or rentals.

Full details are available on our COVID-19 response page.

Our city museum is a heritage portal where visitors connect with Waterloo's past, building shared experiences and enhancing culture. Connect with the museum on Facebook or Instagram, or by calling 519-885-8828.

City of Waterloo Museum logoLocation, hours and admission

We're located at 550 King Street North, beside the food court at Conestoga Mall. Regular hours are:

Tuesday to Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Admission is free. 

Current exhibit: Back 2 Basics REBOOT: Timely pieces from the collection

Back to basics reboot imageMuseum staff have looked at our emerging activities and trends throughout the pandemic, and cleverly assembled the historic equivalent from our collection. Each object is timely and historic offering a reboot to redefining the new normal. 
The exhibition runs July 28 to June 18, 2021.


Online exhibit: Waterloo@home

child colouring chalk rainbowParticipate in our online curation, Waterloo@home via Instagram or Facebook.

Download and colour the exclusive City of Waterloo Museum 2021 calendar. Great for all ages and includes a little bit of Waterloo history each month.


Show me the City self-guided walking tours

show me the city poster on a postExplore the history and heritage of Waterloo at your convenience. 24 tour points are featured. Follow the suggested tour route or explore specific tour points. You will need a digital device able to take pictures. Scan the QR code in your camera app and ‘Show me the City” will pop up with more information about the location.

Outreach, special events and education

If you would like to bring a group into the museum, or have us come to you, we have a number of options as described below.

For more information, contact 519-885-8828 or jennifer.huber@waterloo.ca.

Guest speaking 

Museum staff are available as guest speakers.

We have a series of illustrated presentations that include 'show and tell' with complementary artifacts from our collection. Topics include:

  • the history of Waterloo
  • early mayors
  • rebels and mavericks
  • story of the Seagram empire
  • prohibition in Canada
  • tales from the barrel warehouse
  • sports in Waterloo
  • early school days in Waterloo
  • Christmas past in Waterloo

If you have a different topic, we can also do custom presentations. Our contact info is at the top of this page. We charge $50/one hour presentation.

Special events

Thank you for joining us for our April Break presentations. You can view them now on Facebook. 

 

Earth Day - April 22, 2021

Earth day is almost here! If you missed our presentation with EnviroSTEM check it out on our Facebook page.

Print your own bingo card and head out into nature to complete it. Send us a picture of your completed bingo card on social media to be entered into a draw for a prize from Maison Verte.

Maison Verte started in 2020 by two University of Waterloo alumni, Anam and Divya, who were passionate about the environment. 

Education 

We offer curriculum-directed programming at the museum for school classes or other community groups, based around our exhibits.

We also have curriculum-based outreach programming available for presentations in schools: 

Teachers take note! Below is a list of the free virtual programs we are offering in Spring 2021:

JK/SK- A visit to the Museum: April 28, May 12, June 18.

Grade 1- People and Environment: Local Community: April 23, May 14, 28, June 9.

Grade 2- Simple Machines: April 30, May 7, 21, June 16.

Grade 3/4- Structures and Gears: May 5, June 4.

Grade 3- Heritage and Identity: April 21, May 19, June 11.

Grade 4/5/6- Heritage and Identity- Perspectives in History: May 26, June 2.

Send your email to museum@waterloo.ca with the Dates/Times that your class is available to have us join you (the more time slots you have the better we can fit you in). We look forward to connecting with your class and thank you for learning with us!

*Programs will be booked on a first come, first served basis.

Collection

Our mandate is to preserve, protect and exhibit our collection of over 10,000 artifacts. It's guided by the Museum Strategy, completed in 2015.

The collection includes the signature Seagram collection related to early manufacturing and the service of distilled spirits. Original prints, paintings, photographs, craft, manufacturing artifacts, books, and pamphlets tell the story of Waterloo's fascinating past.

Donations

Our collection is continually being enhanced through additions from the community. If you are interested in sharing a piece of your Waterloo history, contact museum@waterloo.ca or call 519-885-8828.

All objects proposed for acquisition will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  1. Condition: the physical condition of artifacts will be considered as well as the extent to which conservation or restoration treatment is required and any costs associated with said treatments. Objects in poor condition will not be accepted unless they are rare or of particular significance to the collections.
  2. Relevance: Artifacts will be assessed based on how well they ‘fit’ with the museum’s collections both in terms of how well they support the museum’s mission, and how they compare to other artifacts in the collections. Objects will only be acquired if they meet the requirements of the City of Waterloo Museum’s collections mandate.
  3. Documentation: Consideration will also be given to the provenance of an object, as well as any contextual information or other known details regarding the fabrication and function of the object, as this information is critical to collections management.

If we're unable to accept your donation, we will attempt to refer you to another museum or archive that may be interested in acquiring your object.