Every now and then a trip takes you to fascinating destinations in the least expected places. Most people visit Cardston because of its close proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta) and Glacier National Park (Montana). Little did I expect to find a world-class museum in this town of less than 4,000 residents.
The Museum tells the story of horse-drawn wagons in North America and is the largest museum of its kind in the world. Most of the collection deals with wagons and carriages from the 19th and early 20th century, when horses provided the main means of transportation. You’ll be impressed by the depth of the collection, with more than 240 carriages, wagons, sleighs and buggies on display (and many more in storage). There are a few “horseless carriages” exhibited, but cars are not the horse-powered vehicles this museum is interested in.
The Remington Museum started with a donation of almost 50 carriages from Don Remington, a cattle rancher, bridge builder and developer. He liked to collect and restore horse-drawn transportation and accumulated many examples for 35 years, buying them during his travels across North America and Europe. He donated his collection in 1985, forming the core of this museum; this was later supplemented by Calgary’s Glenbow Museum and other private donations.
The Museum opened in 1993 and covers 64,000 square feet (5,900 sq meters). Besides all the interesting exhibits of the horse-drawn vehicles, you can enjoy the informative plaques and archival photos at each exhibit or watch the many interesting short videos playing on loop around the Museum. Be sure to visit the stables to see some of their horses, or even better arrange for a carriage ride. The Museum also has wedding rooms, a nice gift shop and restaurant.
There is also an interesting Carriage Preservation Workshop which was closed when I visited during the CoVid pandemic. In case you were interested in trivia, there’s apparently a two and a half year waiting list to have your carriage fixed in this Workshop.
There are even some VIP carriages on display that have transported Queen Elizabeth II and her family, and a variety of other dignitaries and celebrities.
A most enjoyable half day awaits you as you explore this interesting collection (Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos):