Arts | Heritage, Arts
Living Standards | Education And Learning

Glenbow Museum (Glenbow – Alberta Institute)

Glenbow is a cultural portal, a place to explore art, craftsmanship and human creativity. We are committed to expanding the accessibility and impact of art and culture in our community, through exhibitions and programs that provide meaningful experiences for all our visitors.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Glenbow was created to “promote and encourage the acquisition and diffusion of knowledge of the human race, its arts, its history and the nature of the world in which it lives.” This big idea has guided the museum for over 50 years and continues to inform Glenbow’s future.

Glenbow was founded in 1966 with philanthropist Eric Lafferty Harvie’s transformative donation to the province, when he gave his vast collection of art, artifacts and archives to the people of Alberta, along with an endowment to form Glenbow Museum. We are now western Canada’s largest museum, with over one million objects in our collection including over 33,000 works of art, cultural artifacts from around the world, and photographs and documents relating to the culture and history of Western Canada. We believe that art increases cultural prosperity and enhances community vitality. Glenbow offers programs and exhibitions designed to bring people together for collective cultural experiences.

Our Impact

What We Do

Over 51 years, at least 7.25 million visitors have come through Glenbow’s doors. From children attending school programs to couples on dates to tourists to new Canadians, every visitor to the museum has an opportunity to experience something unexpected, wonderful, or meaningful. Vibrant arts and cultural experiences can transform the way we look at ourselves and the world around us. The inspiration, creativity and ingenuity that result from these memorable encounters can help shape a person, a city, a province, and a country.

Glenbow is a public art museum that:

  • acquires and exhibits remarkable collections of art and artifacts;
  • presents important national and international art exhibitions;
  • provides impactful art and culture learning opportunities; and,
  • engages our diverse communities with meaningful and memorable experiences.

Our Programs

How We Do It

Art that tells stories at Glenbow

As Calgary grows, Glenbow is a resource for our broadening, deepening and diversifying of our community identity. Over the past 50 years, the collection, and our exhibitions, have shifted and adapted to incorporate new voices and perspectives.

Our exhibitions are selected to:

  • broaden the public’s understanding of Canadian art
  • further awareness and appreciation of local artists
  • bring exciting national and international art exhibitions to Calgary audiences
  • activate Glenbow’s collection in transformative ways

Cultivating Curiosity at Glenbow

Whether it’s an education program designed for school children or an after-hours event for adult art lovers, Glenbow’s programming is designed to provide fascinating and personalized experiences that deepen the understanding of art and culture both historically and in our current moment.

Program and event highlights:

  • pay-what-you-can Launch Parties three times a year celebrate the opening of new exhibitions and draw between 500-1,000 guests.
  • Talks and tours with artists, curators and multi-disciplinary creators offer audiences a window into the ideas, process and discoveries that fuel the creation of artworks or exhibitions.
  • Screenings of art-related films offer audiences a big screen theatre experience for films that are otherwise hard to find in Calgary.
  • Free First Thursday Nights offer a monthly opportunity for visitors to experience all Glenbow’s exhibitions for free. Attendance is consistently over 1000 people each Free First Thursday evening.

Glenbow offers of more than 40 different curriculum-linked school programs, which welcome over 50,000 students to the Museum each school year. Program highlights include enriched visual arts and Indigenous studies workshops for every grade. Glenbow continues to offer the largest museum-based education program in Alberta, including both in-house and outreach programming where our educators go to schools and provide teacher workshops.

Opening our Doors to Everyone at Glenbow

We know that meaningful encounters with art and culture and history can change lives and inspire amazing things. We offer several special access programs in order to ensure everyone has the opportunity to experience Glenbow:

  • the Indigenous Access Program provides First Nations, Inuit and Metis people with complimentary admission during regular museum hours.
  • the Group Assistance Program offers opportunities for service agencies, charitable and non-profit organizations to visit Glenbow with groups of youth and/or adults who are otherwise unable to afford regular admission.
  • as part of the City of Calgary Recreation Fee Assistance Program, Glenbow offers a reduced fee assistance rate for regular museum admission for low-income Calgarians who are part of the Fare Entry program.
  • the Cultural Access Pass Program provides complimentary Glenbow admission to new Canadian citizens within their first year of citizenship.
  • the Support Persons Program and Access 2 Entertainment Program enables visitors with disabilities who use a support person to bring that person with them to access Glenbow’s exhibitions. The support person receives free museum admission.

Our Requests

What You Can Do

As an independent non-profit, member-based organization, only about 40% of Glenbow’s funding comes from government sources. The majority of our operating revenue is generated by fundraising, admissions, memberships, event rentals and sales in the Museum Shop. We rely on the financial support we receive from partners, donors and supporters.

Invest in Inspiration

Your financial support helps us offer accessible and engaging cultural experiences to everyone in our community. With your help Glenbow can:

  • continue to create and bring unparalleled art exhibitions and programming to Calgarians that no other institution can.
  • ensure one of Canada’s most valuable art and museum collections is accessible to all Albertans.
  • invite more than 50,000 school children each year to explore our galleries and have hands-on experiences that make art, history and culture more meaningful and relevant to their lives.
  • create new opportunities for Calgarians to visit Glenbow for free – in 2016 over 25,000 people received free admission thanks to donor and sponsor-supported access programs.
  • add to our 50 year history as a vibrant arts incubator, launching the careers of artists, curators, teachers and arts professionals who are actively shaping the cultural life of the country.

Every donation directly impacts Glenbow’s programs and exhibitions and helps maintain access to our collection.
Your support matters.


Kate Monaghan

Glenbow Museum (Glenbow - Alberta Institute)


Charitable Number: 107435965RR0001

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