This museum is dedicated to the history of Vancouver from its original founding to current day. A large part of the museum is currently given over to the history of bike transportation in the city and efforts to make the city more bike friendly.
If you are interested in the history of Vancouver, then I recommend a visit of the Vancouver Museum. It covers different aspects of how the town developed: increasing wealth, people immigrating, war times and simply the daily life. There are also different changing exhibitions.
What is currently on in the museum you can find out on their homepage.
Interesting especially for tourists was an exhibition about tourism in the history. You could see how much stuff people had to bring with them into remote areas, when infrastructure was not that good as today. I don't know if this exhibition is permanent.
Vancouver does not have a lot of large museums, and in all honesty, its museums are generally not what brings in the tourists. But when it comes to small to medium sized museums, Vancouver has some really interesting choices.
The Vancouver Museum, located in Vanier Park in Kitsilano, is such a museum where if you're looking for something to do on a rainy day that's culturally enlightening, it may be a very good choice!
The Vancouver Museum is not very large, but it usually has five or more historical exhibits going on at once. Some of the exhibits focus on local topics, while other exhibits are more global. For example, during my first visit to the museum, they had an exhibit on real estate in Vancouver during the 1920's. They also had an exhibit on life in Vancouver during the 1950's. A few months before, they had an exhibit on the history of Vancouver's skateboarding culture, as the city has played an important role in the development of the sport.
While I was able to see these Vancouver-based exhibits, they also had an exhibit on First Nations, an exhibit on the lives of female travellers in the Victorian era (well before a solo woman travelling the world was common). I found it really interesting because it detailed on their experiences in hotels, transportation, how they were treated, etc. What was really unique, however, was the exhibit on Persian steel. I would have never expected to see such elaborately detailed pieces of armour and weapons at the Vancouver Museum!
So if one were to sum up the Vancouver Museum, I'd call it a "random" historical museum featuring exhibits on both Vancouver and the world.
If you had one day in Vancouver, I probably would not make the Vancouver Museum a must-see, but if you're spending several days in the city and you're looking for some indoor activities, definitely look into the Vancouver Museum as an option. Their exhibits are always changing and they generally offer different perspectives on international and local cultural issues.
The Vancouver Museum is in Vanier Park next to the HR MacMillan Space Center. It's purpose is to bring alive the social history of the Vancouver area from the early days of fur trading and logging to the present. There are lots of great special exhibits as well. The day we went, November 2003, there were three termed "Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll", all about the opium trade, the history of underwear, and Vancouver in the 50's.
There is no cafe on the premises but the gift shop is very good. Lots of free parking. Gorgeous views across to English Bay.
Located in Vanier Park, the HR MacMillan Space Center is a flying saucer shaped building built to educate, inspire, and evoke a sense of wonder about the universe and space exploration. Considered one of the best planetariums in North America, this 1968-built structure has had many transformations. Aside from the planetarium and observatory, it also features the Cosmic Courtyard hands-on gallery, a Virtual Voyages full-motion simulator, GroundStation Canada exhibits and multimedia and popular laser shows.The leading-edge technology of the Zeiss projector in the Star Theater creates a 360-degree view of the heavens seen from Vancouver. Not only can visitors view the night sky, but also are entertained with changing multimedia presentations including laser musical productions.