In 1975, the Government House Act was passed, mandating the collection, preservation and exhibition of furnishings, archival material and works of art that were original to the House. At the same time, a permanent Government House art collection was established. It now includes more than 200 historic and contemporary pieces, providing a broad survey of significant Canadian art.
Artworks range from historical to contemporary and represent diverse styles, media and subject matter. A large number of the artists represented in the collection were born in Alberta, or lived and worked in the province. The collection also holds works by four renowned Canadian artists who were commissioned in the late 19th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway to document the vastness of the Canadian Rockies and promote tourism.
View the collection
A portion of the collection is on display at Government House. The artwork throughout Government House is rotated on a regular basis. On occasion, pieces are loaned to public institutions for major exhibitions.
To view a selection of the art collection, visit the Provincial Art Collections online.
To view a selection of the art collection in person, join one of our free public tours.
After Lieutenant Governor Bowen moved out in 1942, Alberta Public Works held an auction of furnishings that remained in Government House. A search continues to this day to locate items that were sold-off during the auction. See the original auction catalogue (PDF, 7.1 MB)
Some of the located items travelled between homes in Alberta and beyond since leaving Government House, while others have stayed in Edmonton. For example, the large gilt mirror that once graced the lobby of the Garneau Theatre is back in the Government House, located in the Music Room.
Other pieces that were returned to Government House include:
- a large portion of the original government-crested Worcester dinner service
- one of the portiere curtain panels used in the reception hall
- marble statue “Clara”
- boxed government-crested silver fish set
- 5 Sheraton-style dining room chairs
- government-crested silver entrée dish
Locate other items
The Alberta government seeks to purchase or re-acquire through donations authentic furnishings or works of art with significant historical content for the Province of Alberta. Contact us if you have any information about original Government House furnishings.