A Brief History of the Museum
Many years before the museum building was erected, a group of dedicated residents were busy preserving Quesnel's history. By the time they formed the Cariboo Historical Society in 1951 many household items, farm machinery, mining and logging equipment, and photographs had already been collected. For a time the Historical Society was given space in the basement of the Federal Building to store their artifacts. In the mid 1950s, the Board of Trade approached the town council about building a Tourist Information Center. The Society members became involved in the project and, after many years of planning and fund raising, a joint facility was opened in LeBourdais Park in 1963. Society members and volunteers oversaw the collection until 1972, at which time the City officially took the museum over. Additions to the museum were made in 1971 and 1987. The Louis Dawson Memorial Wing, added in 1987, is climate controlled and houses an exhibit gallery and storage space for the archival collection. This expansion was in part required to accommodate the Bohanon/Fuller Collection, the contents of a heritage home belonging to one of the areas more prosperous pioneering families.
In 1995 the archival collection, which had been growing since the 1950s, was made accessible to the public and organized using archival principles, thanks to funding from the Archives Association of British Columbia. At that time the name of the museum was changed to the Quesnel & District Museum and Archives.
The museum continues to evolve, adopting new technologies to make the collection more accessible to the public and to tell our community's story. However, aging infrastructure and space limitations have begun to place constraints on the museum's ability to develop the collection and deliver public programs. The Museum and Heritage Commission continue to plan for the future.
A proposed new facility
The design work for a new museum and visitor centre is complete.
For a look at the proposal, click here.