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 hosts a variety of permanent exhibits of interest including a replica mine shaft, interactive kiosks, a labour history hall, as well as cultural and community displays. There is also a temporary exhibit space which features rotating exhibits.

Now Showing in our Temporary Exhibit Space

150 Years and Counting:
Fighting for Justice on the BC Coast

Indigenous Peoples, Asian Canadians, and their allies have been fighting for justice on British Columbia’s the coast for the past 150 years. The European settlement of what would become ‘British Columbia ’ was founded on the dispossession of Indigenous Peoples and the exclusion of people of Asian heritage. This exhibit looks at the courage of ordinary people who contributed to justice by resisting oppression and racist government policies.

The University of Victoria’s Asian Canadians on Vancouver Island: Race, Indigeneity, and the Transpacific (ACVI) Project has listened to many voices from the past; some are featured in this exhibit, and more can be found in an accompanying brochure. The project acknowledges that not every story can be told here, nor every group represented. The display at the museum features samples of the content that will comprise a full exhibit set to travel to various institutions beginning in July 2017. The panels at the museum are currently under review by the ACVI team.

New Permanent Exhibits from 2014 – 2016 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.


The People’s History Project

The Cumberland Museum and Archives invites you to participate in the People’s History of Cumberland, an exciting new interactive kiosk exhibit at the Cumberland Museum.

Educate! Illustrate! Organize! – Working-class and Labour History Through Comics

Educate! Illustrate! Organize! is an exhibit curated by Robin Folvik, a member of the Graphic History Collective.

Replica Coal Mine

Step back into a time when Coal was King! Take a walk through our replica coal mine.