Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, one of the daughters of Queen Victoria, Alberta became a province in 1905. Prior to European settlement, it was home to groups like the Blackfoot and Cree, with indigenous communities still comprising over six percent of its population. The first European known to visit this area was Anthony Henday, an explorer for the Hudson’s Bay Company, in 1754. With boreal forest in the north and the Rocky Mountains in the south, Alberta has much natural beauty, with three of its five UNESCO World Heritage Sites acknowledged for their environmental value. The other three World Heritage Sites are preserved for their insights into palaeontology and prehistory. One preserving fossilised dinosaurs and the other two archaeological sites, a rock art site (Writing on Stone) and a buffalo butchery site known as Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

Archaeology & History Sites in Alberta

Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin

Nestled between Mount Victoria and Mount Lefroy in the Rocky Mountains, the Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin is today only a ruin. Swiss mountaineering guides built the stone and timber structure in 1922, intending it as a shelter for expeditions attempting to scale the two adjacent mountains. Reflecting its importance, in 1992 it was registered as a National Historic Site of Canada, one cared for by the country’s Alpine Club. Unfortunately, erosion on the slopes beneath it severely compromised the building’s integrity and in 2022 it was intentionally demolished.

Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site

Opened as a heritage attraction in 1987, the Atlas Coal Mine in East Coulee presents itself as the most complete surviving historic coal mine in Canada, having been home to an active mining operation between 1936 and 1984. Among the features at the site is the largest timber coal tipple still standing in North America. Access into the underground mine itself is only facilitated as part of a guided tour. Since 2002, the Canadian government has classified the Atlas Coal Mine as a National Historic Site.

British Block Cairn

The British Block Cairn can be found in the Suffield Block area of Cypress County, where it is visible from at least 15 kilometres away. Created around 1400 AD, it comprises a large stone cairn around which have been placed a ring of further rocks and a human effigy. A group of tipi rings and other cairns have also been identified in the surrounding area, as have various artefacts recovered during archaeological excavation, evidencing a broader ritual landscape. Since 1973 the government have classified it as a National Historic Site.

Museums & Art Galleries in Alberta

Alberta Railway Museum

The third largest railway museum in Canada, the Alberta Railway Museum in Edmonton opened in 1976. Exploring the heritage of the railways in this province, it is home to over 75 conserved and renovated cars and locomotives, the majority of which previously belonged to the Canadian National Railways, Northern Alberta Railways, or one of the various industrial and shorter lines that once operated here. These vehicles are accompanied by a number of buildings, including a train station, water tank and shops, all housed in an open air area for visitors to enjoy.