a peek inside the fishbowl

23 Feb, 2018

A peek inside the new Canada Science and Technology Museum

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa

I was bummed to miss the media preview of the newly renovated Canada Science and Technology Museum back in the fall and have been dying to pay a visit ever since to see what I’ve been missing. Happily, the opportunity to go presented itself earlier this week because the eldest was home for reading week and we were looking for something fun to do.

The three of us went (the youngest was in school for the day and Mark took some time off this week) and we were not disappointed.

The entrance to the museum is cool. It reminds me of the War Museum in a way. It’s tough to see in the photo below, but it’s wrapped in a massive, illuminated LED projection screen that hints at what’s to come. (Spoiler alert: it’s SCIENCE.)

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Here’s a view once you get indoors. As you can see, it wasn’t too busy on Wednesday afternoon:

Canada Science and Technology Museum

There is a LOT of stuff to pack in here, so leave some time. Ottawa folks will be relieved to know that the Crazy Kitchen is still intact. (Ah, so many woozy memories of the Crazy Kitchen!) This photo of me was taken right next to it. I have really strong arms, eh??

Canada Science and Technology Museum

I enjoyed so many of the exhibitions. Highlights, for me, include some time with the giant microscope.

Giant microscope

There are supposed to be some items to view (there was some cotton string and a bobby pin when we visited) but you can also bring something you want to look at. I kicked myself for not bringing a butterfly wing we have in our nature collection! We looked at our fingernails and our wedding rings, as well as coins we had in our pockets. Other easy things to bring and look at could include tissue paper, onion skin, hair from your hairbrush (or fur from your dog’s brush!), or a sprinkle of salt.

I also really enjoyed an exhibition called Sound by Design, which gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the world of sound. This is the description from the Science and Tech website:

Sound by Design showcases some of the most important – and exciting – innovations in sound technology over the past 150 years: from early scientific instruments used to study sound, to iconic sound technologies that influenced how we listen to music, to electronic instruments that helped us create music in new ways. Visitors will get close to some of the most impressive artifacts in the museum’s sound collection while exploring an immersive soundscape installation, playing DJ on an over-sized record, and experiencing the stillness of the Quiet Cube – a room specially designed to eliminate echoes.

Ahhh. That Quiet Cube was dreamy. The sound of the crowds quickly fell away as soon as moved inside this area. It was heavenly rest for my weary ears:

The quiet room

There was no one inside so we screamed at the top of our lungs.

After that, we enjoyed every opportunity to make as MUCH sound as possible:

Spinning some tracks today! #ottawa #myOttawa

A post shared by Andrea Tomkins (@quietfish) on

Imagine the great sounds we made with the mysterious theremin! (The WEE WOO “music” emanating from it will be immediately familiar to Star Trek fans.)

Playing the theramin

Of course, the focus here is on science and innovation but I was charmed by relics from my own personal history:

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Canada Science and Technology Museum

… including a phone I once coveted:

Canada Science and Technology Museum

We could have wandered for hours, there was so much to see and so much to learn.

Canada Science and Technology Museum

A couple things off the top of my head:

  • Pack a lunch and make a day of it. There is a LOT to see so take the time you need. Some of the exhibitions will be familiar to Ottawa folks, others will not.
  • Parents: Don’t be shy about bringing your stroller. This place is huge.
  • Don’t skip the gift shop! It is rare that I want to spend as much time in a museum gift shop as I did in this one. There’s a lot of great stuff here, including some Ottawa-made gifts that I recognized from craft shows and fairs of days gone by. Sadly, they weren’t marked as such, so I hope they fix that soon. (I think “Ottawa made” is a great selling point, don’t you?)

As I write this I am thinking how much I would enjoy an adult-only after-hours event at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Would you? They could borrow a page or two from Museum of Nature’s Nature Nocturne event series and even make it a licensed event.

Have you been to the new Canada Science and Technology Museum? I’d love to hear what you think.

6 Responses to "A peek inside the new Canada Science and Technology Museum"

1 | Festina Lente.

February 23rd, 2018 at 5:30 pm


We went a while back. Had low expectations because had heard very little and thought it was polite media (if you can’t something positive….etc).
It’s really good. Seriously. I saw about 1/3 of it and skimmed through the rest. It appears I missed some excellent content. I’m going back. Soon!
Really pleased they did a great job. Science deserves it.

*** You know another museum that’s fantastic? The Money museum at Bank of Canada. Top notch. Fun and interactive.

2 | Festina Lente.

February 23rd, 2018 at 5:48 pm


Speaking of Science…I recently watched this excellent SCIENCE series on TVO (Human Universe / with Dr. Brian Cox). If you haven’t been following it, you can watch on the TVO site. This one (link below) is a great example. So, so, so good.
Nota: They remove the series a few months after it’s played.


3 | Allison

February 24th, 2018 at 11:14 am


We haven’t made it there yet since it re-opened but hoping to soon. It looks great!
Funny about the pink princess phone. We just found one in a box in the garage and it is now cleaned up and on the bookshelf in my bedroom. So retro!

4 | andrea tomkins

February 24th, 2018 at 12:17 pm


Festina: I agree that a return trip is needed. I feel like I skimmed over too many things. And I haven’t been to the new money museum yet! I went years ago with the kids and really enjoyed it. Time to go back! And I will definitely check out the TVO series. Sounds cool!

Allison: I am very jealous of your pink phone. We have a big black one with a rotary dial that I love. It still works too!

5 | SciTechMuseum

February 26th, 2018 at 9:48 am


Thanks for sharing your visit. We have passed on your comments regarding the boutique. Stay tuned for news about upcoming events for visitors of all ages, including some evening events for adults later this spring.

6 | andrea tomkins

February 28th, 2018 at 2:26 pm


Cool. Thanks!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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