Located on Bear Street, Within just a five-minute drive or a leisurely 20-minute walk from The Rundlestone Lodge
, stands the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Founded by local artists Catharine and Peter Whyte in 1968, this important institution holds valuable stories from the 1800s to the present, archived within photographs, paintings, artifacts, and art exhibits.
Regarded as one of the top things to do in Banff, The Whyte Museum is an establishment rich with history, culture, art, and the true essence of The Rocky Mountains. Here, we feature a brief history of the Whyte Museum and its founders to prepare you for your future visit.
The History of The Whyte Museum
In 1925, Catharine and Peter Whyte met as students attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. While Catharine had grown up in Concord, Massachusetts, Peter grew up in Banff. During their journey together, the Whytes became informal historians, collecting items and documenting the history of the Rockies. Their goal was to create a physical space to display their collections and art holdings.
The Whytes created the Wa-Che-Yo-Cha-Pa Foundation (now known as the Peter and Catharine Whyte Foundation) in 1958. Maryalice Stewart was hired in 1965 as the director of the foundation. After Peter Whyte’s passing in 1966, Catharine and Maryalice continued the vision. In 1968, what is now known as The Whyte Museum officially opened?
The Importance Of Sharing The Stories Of The Indigenous People And Their Land
At the heart of The Whyte Museum is a beautiful community where old stories are celebrated and artists gather to share creations. The Whyte Museum is committed to engaging with the region’s Indigenous communities through the Recognizing Relations program created by Dagny Dubois, archival assistant and First Nations liaison.
The local Stoney Nakoda community’s elders have presented photos from the museum’s archive with the goal of rightfully naming the people in the photographs. The program has presented over 450 photographs today.
Visiting The Whyte Museum
During your stay, be sure to visit the archive attached to the museum that features thousands of photographs spanning the history of the town and park. These photographs are available for reprint. The museum also organizes guided walking tours – focused on Banff’s history and heritage homes.
A trip to Banff is incomplete without a visit to the Whyte Museum, which tells the community’s history and momentous stories. Today, Banff National Park is a hubbub for nature lovers, history buffs, and adventure seekers alike.