Welcome to the Quesnel & District Museum and Archives

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The Quesnel Museum


There is always plenty to discover at the Quesnel Museum. Learn the secrets of "Mandy, the Haunted Doll." Listen to the stories of Chinese and First Nations Elders or visit a Sikh temple through interactive video installations. Meet the residents of early twentieth century Quesnel through the remarkable photographs of C.D. Hoy and C.S. Wing. Dress up in the children's activity centre or participate in a scavenger hunt. Click here to view our upcoming special events and programs.

Favourite exhibits include the Titanic, Footprints in Stone, dedicated to local First Nations culture, and vignettes recreating Quesnel's pioneer homes and businesses. From rare Chinese artifacts used during the gold rush era, to ephemera that will evoke childhood memories, the extensive collections are sure to appeal to all ages and interests. Come and see why the Quesnel Museum has been proclaimed one of BC's top 10 community museums.

Special Projects

Restoration of Quesnel’s Cornish Water Wheel

The Cornish waterwheel was erected on Front Street, beside the Fraser River Bridge in 1930 as a memorial to the Pioneer Miners of the Cariboo. Repaired and rebuilt a number of times in the intervening years, when the Friends of the Quesnel Museum commissioned conservator, Carl Schlicting to prepare a conservation plan for all the large industrial artifacts located along the Riverfront Trail in 2014, he concluded that a plan should be developed to rebuild the wheel.  The original metal elements (the axel and crank arm)  were reused and the rebuild incorporated conservation measures to extend the life of the new wood timbers. The project was initiated in 2015 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Cariboo Wagon Road.   

The Quesnel Museum wishes to acknowledge the workmanship of the team from C2000 ( Dave & Angela Lakeman, Rina Hofer and Doug Aspinal) and WestFraser Mills for supplying  suitable air dried Douglas Fir. We gratefully acknowledge all those who contributed financially to this project:

La roue d’eau a été restauré pour célébrer le 150e anniversaire de la complétion du Cariboo Wagon Road en 1865.

Featured Photo of the month

Title: Outdoor Fun

Six year old Herbert John Fraser, known as “Jack” sits on the sleigh with family friend,  Noreen Johnston standing  beside him.  Big brother, Alexander Vaughan Fraser (Alex), age seven and ¾, is already in charge of transportation, holding the ropes.  The three friends are playing “Near the skating rink”, which at this time was an outdoor rink located on the sandflats near the Reid saw mill at the south end of Front street.   It was 200 X 60 ft., surrounded by wood boards, which can be seen in the background of this photo and had a change room.  A few years later in December 1928 a new rink was built on Front Street, near the hospital, (just north of where Fraser Village stands today). 

The children are bundled up in the heavy wool coats that were needed to keep warm, although this day may have been relatively mild, since Alex has taken off his gloves and Noreen does not appear to have any.   We know from an inscription of the back that this picture was taken on Sunday February 3, 1924.

Alex Fraser followed his father into politics, serving as a commissioner for the village of Quesnel from 1949 and becoming the first Mayor when the town was incorporated in 1958.  He maintained his position as Chairman and then Mayor from 1951 until 1969, when he was elected to the provincial legislature as the MLA for the Cariboo.  He served in the cabinets of Bill Bennet and Bill Van der Zalm as the Minister of Transportation and Highways for a total of 11 years.