About Us


The Shearwater Aviation Museum was founded in 1978 as a CFB Shearwater project and was housed on a single floor of a barrack block that was made available by the Canadian Forces (CF). In 1979, the Museum had developed sufficiently to be accredited by the Canadian Forces Museum Committee.

Accreditation as a CF Museum qualified it for a small operating grant which along with “in-kind” staffing and maintenance support, the only means available to the Canadian Forces to foster growth in museums portraying its heritage.

The purpose of the Museum is to acquire, conserve, organize, research and interpret artifacts and documents which best serve to exemplify the history and technology of Canadian Maritime Military Aviation as it relates to the air station that is now 12 Wing Shearwater.

As the Museum matured, it collected thousands of artifacts from across the country from people who had any association with our air base at Dartmouth, with a specialty in preserving the Royal Canadian Navy’s aviation history. This collection includes uniforms, insignia, ceremonial items, tools and equipment, archival items and an extensive art gallery.


Unfortunately, because of space limitations only a very small percentage of these artifacts could be displayed. During this period the Museum also acquired eleven retired aircraft which represented various types of aircraft flown from the Dartmouth/Shearwater base.

In 1992, plans were developed to relocate the Museum to Building 13, which was originally a gymnasium in 1941 and later became the Base Exchange (CANEX) in 1975. With the move of CANEX, the building was gutted and renovated to provide a space to display a much greater percentage of the collection.

The new location was opened in August 1995 and attracted thousands of visitors annually. The expansion offered a significant improvement over the previous facilities and provided accommodation for most of the artifacts. Five of the aircraft had been relegated to outdoor exhibit, suffering the ravages of Maritime weather conditions. These aircraft were removed from their mounts and refurbished in June 1998.

The winter of 2000-2001 saw the beginning of the construction of the museum’s new addition. It was completed in the spring of 2001 and it’s opening ceremony was held on August 24, 2001. The opening ceremony also saw the rolling out of the Banshee F2H3 jet, a “Gate Guardian” recently restored to static display condition by 12 Air Maintenance Squadron.


In its current configuration, the Museum also offers a number of other facilities to complement the collection. We have a Reference Library & Archives, Gift Shop, Conference Room and 50-seat theatre. The Museum is now a major tourist attraction within the Halifax Regional Municipality.