Nova Scotia Museum (NSM) is the corporate name for the most decentralized museum in Canada - 27 museums across the province, including over 200 historic buildings, living history sites, vessels, specialized museums and close to a million artifacts and specimens. These resources are managed either directly or through a unique system of co-operative agreements with societies and local boards. The NSM delivers its programs, exhibits and products to serve both local residents and tourists in Nova Scotian communities. Over 620,000 people visited last year, making it a huge part of the province's tourism infrastructure.
The NSM is created by the Nova Scotia Museum Act, a provincial legislation. Through its museums, collections, research, exhibits and programs, the Nova Scotia Museum provides Nova Scotians and visitors to the province with an opportunity to experience and learn about our unique social and natural history.
The NSM mandate includes:
- collecting, researching and documenting Nova Scotia's natural and human history
- providing exhibits, programs, buildings and publications for self-directed learning
- helping Nova Scotia tourism by developing and maintaining high quality museums
A Board of Governors, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Communities, Culture, and Heritage oversees operation of the 27 provincial museums and offers a Nova Scotia Museum Research Grant Program that annually provides up to $4000 to researchers.
Local boards operate the 17 locally managed museums on behalf of the Board of Governors, and 10 museums are directly managed.
Two directors, reporting to the Executive Director of Heritage Division, have responsibility regarding the operations of all 27 provincial museums. The Director of Museum Operations is responsible for Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Museum of Natural History, and the provincial collection of artifacts and specimens and the Director of Nova Scotia Museum sites oversees all other provincial museum sites.
The Nova Scotia Museum’s history spans almost 140 years. It is one of the oldest provincial museums in Canada, established in 1868. Throughout its existence, the NSM has been a national leader in its commitment to decentralization, public education, and community partnerships, and an innovator, making Nova Scotia’s rich heritage accessible to Nova Scotians and worldwide audiences via the internet on the Nova Scotia Museum website.