Archival Holdings

The archives currently holds approximately 60 fonds or collections of material created by one source (an individual, a family, a company or an organization) that have been arranged and described and are accessible to the public. A summary of the major collections is available here. A great deal of interesting material can also be found in the Single Item Manuscript Collection, which is too large and varied to summarize here. The contents have been indexed and can be searched in the museum's database.


The collection is focused on mining and community development in the Quesnel area.


Principle holdings include:

The Cariboo Observer has been digitized thanks to a grant from the BC History Digitization program supported by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Papers from 1908 to 2014 can be searched on line. Click here to search the Observer Newspaper Archives.

Oral Histories

The oral history collection includes a number of recordings that were made in the 1950s of "Cariboo Pioneers." Local historian Branwen Patenaud conducted interviews during the 1970s and 1980s, primarily focused on the road houses of the Cariboo Wagon Road. In 2006 the Friends of the Museum initiated a project to interview Seniors and long time residents of Quesnel. A series of video interviews have been completed with funding for exhibits projects. These have primarily focused on Chinese and Dakelh Elders. The full interviews are available through the archives. Click here for a listing of people interviewed.


There are just under 13,000 photographic images in the collection. The development of Quesnel is documented from the 1860s to the present. The collection also includes portraits of area residents and documents social and recreational activities, the development of transportation, agriculture, forestry and mining in the region. The collection has been digitized and indexed so that it can be easily searched and accessed at the museum and archives.

There are a number of significant collections within the photograph collection. Click here for an overview and sample images.


Reference Library and Research Files

The Museum and Archives also has a reference library with books related to the museum's collections, and local history. There are also research files pertaining to local families, businesses and organizations which often provide a shortcut to relevant material in both the collection and the reference library.