The Diefenbunker Museum

Written By: Jake Bauer | Posted: 2020-05-03 | Last Updated: 2020-05-03

A few months ago, I visited the Diefenbunker museum located in Carp, Ottawa, Canada. It’s a Cold War era bunker, abandoned in 1994, that has been undergoing restoration and conversion into a museum by a small group of staff and volunteers. It was originally designed to hold hundreds of the country’s top civil servants, military personnel, and politicians in the event of an imminent nuclear attack on Canada so that the country could continue functioning after nuclear devastation.

So much cool history is preserved in this museum including old teletypewriters, computing equipment, clothing, medical equipment, operating procedures, and exhibits about Canada’s involvement in the Cold War. I try to experience things with my own eyes rather than through a camera lens so I didn’t take many photographs, but I did manage to take a few that showcase some of the really interesting things to see:

The situation room where responses would be co-ordinated.
A vintage computer in the situation room.
The room where senior government officials would meet to run the emergency government.
The operating theatre in the bunker’s medical wing.
The store in the bunker’s mess hall.
The communications room.
Several racks full of communications equipment.
A workshop.
A number of vintage computing equipment including minicomputers, tape machines, and a mainframe just off to the right.
Lots of vintage computing equipment including what I presume are a couple of minicomputers.
An old Tektronix Type 545B Oscilloscope, presumably used in maintaining the computing equipment.
A set of old-tapes and a cabinet labelled “Admin Tape Container”
A platter from a vintage hard disk and an old RAM card.

The photographs here don’t even cover 10% of what the museum has to offer. There are other exhibits like the Bank of Canada gold bullion vault, the rooms dedicated to the various departments of the Government of Canada, living quarters, and more that I didn’t capture. Many of the exhibits can also be interacted with in one way or another. One can try typing on a typewriter or teletypewriter, pick up and examine many of the old items, or read a book from the time sitting on a shelf.

I highly recommend that you visit this museum if you ever find yourself in Ottawa. If you can, go on a guided tour first then explore the museum on your own afterwards; one can easily spend an entire day exploring all the museum has to offer.

This is my ninth post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.