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

Goodwin’s Reach

Over the years, the Goodwin story has caught the imagination and attention of diverse artists and historians. These voices will be featured in an exhibit Goodwin’s Reach, debuting at the Cumberland Museum and Archives during Miners Memorial June 22-24, and running until October 12, 2018.

Goodwin’s Reach showcases community and professional visual artists, musicians, documentary makers, fiction and non-fiction authors and playwrights all inspired by Ginger Goodwin’s life and death narrative. For former Cumberland resident Tom Hutton, the Goodwin story is a personal one. Hutton’s grandfather rowed up Cumberland Lake weekly delivering supplies to Goodwin and other draft evaders. His painting titled “Cruikshank River Valley – Where Ginger Goodwin was Shot” evokes the rustic beauty of the region where Goodwin met his untimely death. Nanaimo Art Gallery Curator, Jesse Birch’s publication ‘Ginger Goodwin Way’ documents the exhibition of the same name which was featured at the Or Gallery (Vancouver) in 2010. Playful pieces by Cumberland’s Dawn Copeman lighten the mood of an otherwise dark and controversial topic, while graphic novel artists such as Montreal’s (former Cumberland) Laura Ellyn, and Dave Lester (Vancouver) share the story through a contemporary medium. Enjoy music and film clips, including a short film produced by Micheal Stephen (Nanaimo) from his play ‘The Ginger Goodwin Story’ – created for the exhibit, and the ‘reading nook’ with books, scripts, graphic novels, and essays from participating artists and authors.

Items from the Cumberland Museum and Archives permanent collections including Ruth Master’s leather bound compendium on Ginger Goodwin, and George Sawchuk’s ‘Homage’ piece will be on view, along with items on loan. With over 17 featured creators, Goodwin’s Reach is a must see exhibit for those seeking to learn more about Ginger Goodwin, his legacy, and the significance of his death 100 years later.

Permanent 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.


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.