In the Drum Gallery are drums from far and wide in Canada. Each drum tells a story about its originators and their history and traditions.

Ojibwe Ceremonial Drum – watercolour by Paul Kane

Watercolour, pencil on paper of Ojibwe Ceremonial Drums by Paul Kane (1810-71). Presented to Royal Ontario Museum by Raymond A. Willis in memory of ‘Chelsea,’ daughter of Allan Cassels and granddaughter of the Hon. G.W. Allen. Accession Number 946.15.31

Painted Frame Drum

Cree/Nehiyaw Hand drum used for personal and social occasions. Rawhide stretched over wooden frame and elaborately laced at back; painting includes feathers, moon, sun, and animal footprints. Padded beater similar to those used for powwow drum, 41.8 cm. long. Wood and tanned hide. Purchased in Winnipeg by Elaine Keillor in 1987.

Cedar Box Drum

Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. Boards of red cedar with a raven design painted on it. A learned singer is chosen to lead the singers with the beat of this drum.

Frame Drums with two snares

Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib) Rawhide skin of caribou stretched over wooden frame, snares of babiche; four divisions at back; carefully woven centre. Hand drum used for personal ceremonies, accompanying songs for various dances including Drum, Couple, Lines, and udzi handgame Unpadded slightly curved beater of willow 23.3 cm. Purchased by Elaine Keillor in Yellowknife, 1984.

Octagonal Painted Frame Drum

Ojibwe Hand drum used for personal and social occasions. Painting of stylized bird on rawhide head, and other designs usually triangular in nature; relatively thick wooden frame wrapped on outside with white rawhide decorated with beading in groups of three. Unpadded beater 36 cm. long of carved wood.  Purchased 1984 at Rama Reserve by Elaine Keillor.

Butterfly Painted Frame Drum

Butterfly painted frame drum, single membranophone – Front.
Tlingit Rawhide skin painted with butterfly design, over cedar wood frame and complex  rawhide lacing at back. Hand drum used for personal and social occasions. Padded beater 33.8 cm. long. Made by Odin Lonning, b. 1953. Purchased by Elaine Keillor in Vancouver, 1991.

Frame drum, double membranophone

Ojibwe, Used in various ceremonies. Scraped rawhide used for heads but haired skin covers wooden frame and provides the lacings. Purchased 1995 near Cape Croker Reserve, Bruce Peninsula, by Elaine Keillor. Circular beater, wound with tanned leather at beating end, 48 cm long. Beater made by Rohahes Iain Phillips.

Log Drum

Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. Shaped from a solid log of red cedar Used by a team of skilled singers at the potlatch ceremony. These singers practise for many hours to learn the special songs that have been composed for the Chief’s potlatch ceremony.

Raven Wolf Drum

Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation.  Has painted raven and wolf design. Used by a team of singers at the potlatch ceremony.

Halibut Drum

Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, UCC 88-.07.01. Painted halibut design by George Hunt Jr. of the Kwagu’† First Nation in 1988. Used by some singers at a potlatch ceremony. Drum made by the Sam family from Ahousaht, BC .

Sculpin Drum

Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. Sculpin design painted by Eugene A. Hunt. Used by singers at a potlatch ceremony.

Iroquois Water Drum

The water drum was used to keep time during songs, it was traditionally made out of birch wood. The inside of the drum is filled with water.

Ojibwe Bird Drum

Used to keep time during songs.

Tourist Trade Drums

Haudenosaunee Drum

Made by Rohahes Iaian Phillips.

Half Barrel Drum

Algonquin Drum

Inuit Drum


This project was made possible with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through Canadian Culture Online
Native Drum