The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest fine art museum in Atlantic Canada. Its collection includes some 17,000 works including paintings, drawings, sculpture and photographs.
As the Province's art museum, the collection focuses on works that have a connection to Nova Scotia. It thus includes works created by Nova Scotia artists such as folk artist Maude Lewis. However, it also includes works created elsewhere that were created elsewhere but which have some other tie to Canada. For example, the exhibit “Centuries Of Silence: The Discovery of the Salines Antiphonal” centered upon a 16th century Belgian illuminated choir book that was brought to Nova Scotia in the 19th century by Bishop William Walsh.
This focus has led to a surprisingly diverse collection. During our visit, there were exhibits on folk art, Native American art, contemporary photography, art related to Canada's experience in World War I, and European painting. The permanent collection includes works by the 18th century English portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Founded in 1908 as the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Art, the AGNS took on its present name in 1975. It has locations in Halifax and Yarmouth.
The main location is in Halifax, just inland from the waterfront and not far from the popular Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. It occupies two historic buildings, the Dominion Building and the Provincial Building. An underground passage and exhibit space runs underneath Ondaatje Court connecting the two buildings.
Although its buildings date from the 19th century, the interior galleries have been remodeled in a contemporary museum design. Thus, the exhibit space is well-lit and lends itself to viewing the works.
In addition to exhibits, the AGNS offers educational programs. It has a museum gift shop as well as a section which both sells and rents art.
For more information about visiting AGNS, visit its website.
For more information on Halifax, see our Halifax profile page.
Places to see art - Halifax, Nova Scotia - Art Gallery of Nova Scotia