Top 5 Museums in Guelph
Welcome to the WRX Property Group website and blog! What’s on the menu for today, you ask? Why, today we’re going to look at the top museums in Guelph!
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5. Art Gallery of Guelph
The Art Gallery of Guelph (AGG) is a lovely place to spend the day. It’s got a wide variety of art on display, spread throughout its spacious, architecturally-impressive facilities. Its extensive art collections include Canadian, Contemporary, Indigenous (First Nations and Inuit), International, and more.
Guided tours are available, and while strolling through at your own pace is fun, a tour can provide even deeper insight into the various works on display. One of the most compelling and unique parts of the AGG is the Sculpture Park, which is spread out over a 2.5 acre site beside the main building.
It is the largest and most comprehensive public, outdoor gallery of contemporary art in all of Canada. The AGG is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 12pm to 5pm; it’s located at 358 Gordon Street, near the University of Guelph campus.
4. McCrae House
World War I historians, Guelph enthusiasts, and WRX Property Group blog readers all know that John McCrae was born and raised in Guelph (and he attended Guelph Collegiate and Vocational Institute, one of Ontario’s oldest continuously operating schools).
John McCrae served overseas during WWI, and during the Second Battle of Ypres, he wrote “In Flanders Fields:” one of the most famous war poems of the modern age. McCrae House is a small, limestone cottage in which the McCraes lived between 1870 and 1873 (John was born here).
Today, it’s been converted into a gallery and museum, preserving and celebrating the life of one of Guelph’s most famous residents, as well as commemorating the times in which he lived, and World War I.
It’s located at 108 Water Street, and is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 1-5pm.
3. Hammond Museum of Radio
The Hammond Museum of Radio is a very unique place indeed. Within its collection, you’ll find hundreds of receivers and transmitters, spanning a century of history of wireless and radio technology (from 1850-1950)! Sure, this museum may appeal to a niche market – but for that niche market, there are few places better at what it does.
Indeed, it boasts the largest collection of radio and broadcast artefacts in all of Canada! The Hammond Museum of Radio started out as a labour of love by its founder, Fred Hammond, who began collecting radios as a teenager.
The Hammond Manufacturing Company opened a plant in Guelph, and Fred made sure to devote some space to his precious collection. Over time, the collection grew, and just before Fred passed away in 1999, the Hammond Museum of Radio moved to its current, larger location.
There are some really fascinating things to see, here, including numerous radio models used during the World Wars. Hammond Museum of Radio’s website is something of an artefact in and of itself – take a look and see!
The Hammond Museum of Radio is open “during normal business hours Monday to Friday” and you can book a tour by phone or email here. It’s located at 595 Southgate Drive, in southern Guelph.
2. The Masterpiece Gallery
Is this a museum, in the strict sense of the word? It’s hard to say. It’s hard to say precisely what this unique Guelph location is at all: owned, opened, and operated by Paul Szewc, a Conestoga College graduate and woodworking prodigy, the Masterpiece Gallery is a section of Paul’s huge wood workshop.
He opened it in 1997 under the name Paul Szewc Company, and he built custom kitchens. After growing tired of people mispronouncing the company name, he switched it to Masterpiece Cabinets, and began building furniture.
He expanded into a wide variety of creative woodworking ventures, earning the title of Wood Artist in the process, and began pumping out dozens – nay, hundreds – of Wonkies. Indeed, the Masterpiece Gallery boasts a “’Wonky Wall’ which could display more than 260 Mini Wonkies!” What’s a Wonky, you ask?
Well, you’ll just have to visit the Masterpiece Gallery and! There are many wonderfully-wrought wooden oddities to feast your eyes on, as well as unique cutting boards, furniture, games, kitchen utensils, and more for sale.
If you lay eyes upon the exterior of the building – painted with an intricate, swirling pattern that seems to bulge and sway – you can get an idea of the marvels that await you inside.
It’s really worth a visit! The Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 11am – 5pm; it’s located at 7100 Fife Road in Guelph.
1. Civic Museum
The Guelph Civic Museum is the museum in Guelph. If you’re fond of museums, or if you enjoy learning about the unique histories of a specific region, or if you just enjoy having a good time, then the Civic Museum is the place for you.
The museum stretches back to 1967, when it was run out of the Winter Fair Horse Stables (currently the Guelph Farmer’s Market). It moved to Dublin Street South in 1977, and opened to the public under its current name in 1980.
However, as the museum’s collection and popularity grew, it needed a new, larger location. Its current location, in the former (and recently renovated) Loretto Convent in downtown Guelph opened in 2012. It’s a beautiful building that mixes the old façade of the original convent with a solid glass addition that glows resplendently in the evenings.
Truly, just marvelling at the exterior of the Guelph Civic Museum, which sits atop a gently sloping hill, is nice. But just wait until you get inside.
The best museums combine an extensive, wide-ranging collection with passionate, knowledgeable staff, and the Civic Museum has both of these things. Another commonality between the most enjoyable museums is interactivity, and the Civic Museum has this, too.
Strolling through the museum, you will get a vivid impression of what life was like in Guelph in years past. There are thousands of unique, intriguing artefacts from multiple decades. The two primary galleries within are the ‘Growing Guelph Gallery and City Gallery’ (just short of being a perfect alliteration), which showcases the things, people, and stories that make Guelph a unique place, and the ‘Royal City Families Gallery,’ which is a highly interactive gallery perfect for all ages to learn about Guelph while having fun.
The Guelph Civic Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm; on the fourth Friday of every month, it’s open until 9pm, with free admission between 5pm and 9pm. It’s located at 52 Norfolk Street, atop a hill in downtown Guelph.
Written by Will Kummer