As ‘The Peoples Museum’ we are the platform for our community to tell their stories. We celebrate the stories of the rich, the poor, the powerful, the rebellious, and the radical. They are at the very core of the museum and as integral as the objects and documents found within. These diverse voices provide an exciting, riveting, and challenging juxtaposition of perspectives within our activities, programming, and exhibitions. The Cumberland Museum and Archives host a variety of permanent exhibits of interest including a replica mine shaft, interactive kiosks, a new labour history exhibit, as well as cultural and community displays.

New Labour History Exhibit: Coal, Conflict, and Community

“Who wouldn’t fight if there were laws for the safety of the miner and they were not enforced? How’s you like to go into the bowels of the earth if you wasn’t sure at what minute an explosion might come?” (Anonymous, Vancouver Morning Sun, 12 Feb 1913).   

The Cumberland Museum and Archives invites you to explore our new permanent labour history exhibit: Coal, Conflict and Community.

The exhibit spans over one hundred years of working and labour history through interpretive panels, music, artwork, and illustrations. Highlights include an original mural created by artist David Lester, and inspired by Cumberland’s diverse communities. An illustrated labour history timeline created by the Graphic History Collective places Cumberland and local labour events within a larger Canadian context.

Those with a special interest in the story of Albert “Ginger” Goodwin can review interviews, inquest testimony and other hard-to-access documents through Ruth Masters’ The Shooting of Ginger Goodwin, a leather-bound compendium on Goodwin’s life and death.

Learn about the Big Strike of 1912-1914, the history of Miners Memorial, unresolved questions and controversies, and more.

Listen to CBC’s coverage of the exhibit on All Points West.


Other Exhibits Include:

The Cumberland Collieries Railway Exhibit

Explore the history of the railway which ran between Union Bay and Cumberland, carrying coal, passengers, and goods between 1888 to 1960.

Businesses of Cumberland

During Cumberland’s early coal mining years businesses played pivotal roles within the bustling downtown, serving workers and settlers from around the world. The first retail store was opened in January 1891 by the Union Colliery Company, serving the coal miners who resided in Union. (Now Cumberland). From that first store came a legacy of general stores and businesses that left a lasting mark on Cumberland. The Businesses of Cumberland exhibit tells the story of the development of the downtown core, from the first company store to the booming years of coal mining. Hands-on elements including a period ‘dress up closet’, and a replica newspaper featuring a number of significant Cumberland businesses

Cumberland General Hospital

The Cumberland General Hospital Exhibit displays the amazing medical artifacts and archives from our collections, interpretive signage telling the story of this important institution, as well as the stories of patients and medical staff – including the important role of women in medical care. Four large panel signs represent the Cumberland General Hospital, the Ladies Auxiliary, The Hospital Board and Wards, and the Doctors and Matrons.

Senjiro Hayashi Photograpy Studio (1913-1929)

The Senjiro Hayashi Photo Studio opened in 1913 and operated until 1929 in Cumberland. The Cumberland Museum & Archives holds over 700 glass plate negatives in our collection depicting local residents from a wide range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. 35 new framed prints of these stunning images were generously donated to us by the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby and are now on display in the museum along with other information and artifacts related to the history of photography in Cumberland from the era of Senjiro Hayashi to that of the selfie.