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Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum

by K Gordon Schultz

Preserving the History and Culture of the Original Inhabitants of Banff National Park, Alberta

While we in modern times tend to think of the beauty of Banff National Park and other parts of Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies as having been “discovered” a few centuries ago, there have been people living here much longer than that – many centuries before European explorers and settlers arrived.

When those people did arrive, they found many cultures rich in elaborate ceremonies, dances, songs, and legends associated with the spirit world and the cycles of nature.

The Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum is dedicated to the appreciation, interpretation, and demonstration of the cultures, traditions, and values of these aboriginal peoples – the more than 600 groups native to the Northern Plains and Canadian Rockies – the so-called First Nations people of North America.

The museum’s goal is to illustrate how the people of this land lived and adapted to their surroundings and each other prior to and after contact with European culture. From richly ornamented costumes to a beautifully decorated teepee, from colorful quill-work to hunting equipment, the museum displays a wealth of native arts and traditions from daily life. It is a cultural display that celebrates the richness, diversity, continuity and, above all, the resilience of the native peoples of this area, according to the museum.

The Luxton Museum houses a collection of Plains First Nations cultural history artifacts. These include examples of:

  • Decorative Arts – The museum houses a collection of love flutes, hide and textile costumes, pottery and painted and beaded textiles.
  • Fine Arts – The museum houses a small but significant collection of historical and contemporary paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture and photography.
  • Culture
  • Period History
  • Media including painting, photography, prints and drawings, and sculpture
  • Human History – these include ceremonial objects such as costumes and accessories; currency, household objects or domestic technology;photographs; examples of industrial technology and history such as maps, charts, plans or blueprints; musical instruments; toys and games; transportation; and weapons
  • Natural Sciences
  • Earth Science and Geological Collections
  • Other: spear points

Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum is another excellent option if you’re looking for things to do in Banff for the entire family. Kids love tales of aboriginal peoples and will be fascinated at the glimpses they can get into these ancient cultures. Plus they will be excited the moment you pull into the parking lot; the museum resembles an old wooden frontier fort.

The museum is located along the Bow River, across from Banff town’s Central Park and is open all year, seven days a week.

Summer Hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., May – early October
Winter Hours: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., early October – April

Admission fees are required.

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