Museums & Archives

Preserving the Past for the Future!

New Westminster’s Museums & Archives are managed across three city locations: Anvil Centre, Irving House and the Samson V Museum.  The operations care for over 36,000 objects and another 35,000 photographs and archival records that celebrate our city’s stories and history. Our exhibits focus on the land, people, and development of the place now known as New Westminster. We aspire to be fun and entertaining places of learning and use the objects in the museum’s collection as an entry-point to inquiry, discussion, and exploration about the city.

Museum Hours

Admission to all sites is by donation.

Anvil Centre, Irving  House and Samson V are all open on Canada Day.

New Westminster Museum (Anvil Centre, 3rd floor, 777 Columbia Street):
Open year round
Monday to Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm.
Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm.

Irving House (302 Royal Avenue)
Saturday & Sunday: 12 pm - 4 pm.

The Samson V (880 Quayside Drive):
Reopens May 18
Wednesday to Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Archives Hours

New Westminster Archives (Anvil Centre, 2nd floor, 777 Columbia Street):
Open year round
Daily except holidays: 10 am to 5 pm.
Reference services daily: 12 pm - 5 pm.

T: 604-527-4640


Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The New Westminster Museum and Archives gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia

  • The museum consists of three galleries. The permanent gallery at Anvil Centre takes you on a journey of discovery, covering over 10,000 years of New Westminster history and ending in 2010.

    Gallery 7 picks up where the permanent gallery leaves off. This is a place of engagement and interaction, bringing forth the contemporary stories of our city through discussion, dialogue, and exhibition in a smaller intimate setting. The temporary gallery lets us take a deeper look into many of our city’s more interesting and thought-provoking stories, individuals, and objects.

    The third gallery can be found at 1865 Irving House, the former colonial home of Captain William Irving, and one of the oldest community heritage sites in B.C.

    Museum Hours

    Monday to Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm, Thursday open late to 8 pm.

    Irving House is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 4 pm from September-April. 

    The Samson V is closed for the season (November-April).

    Enquiries to the collections

    All museum collections are held in trust for the community. Should you have an interest in viewing an item in our collection that is not on display in the galleries, please contact us to book an appointment with our staff.


    T: 604-527-4640


    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

    To find out more about New Westminster history, please visit these pages:

    Archives Online
    Catalogue of photos and other records

    Heritage Register
    Official listing of properties deemed to have heritage value

    Heritage Resource Inventory
    Unofficial list of properties deemed to have heritage value

    New Westminster Public Library Heritage and Local History
    Timelines, list of mayors, May queens, photos and more

    Westminster Pier Park Memory Bands
    Profiles and photos of words and names along the Memory Band
  • Current Exhibitions:





    Getting the Word Out

    October 26, 2018 - April 28, 2019

    From the first cumbersome printing press dragged over the stumps and hills of the budding city, this exhibit shows New Westminster’s past of fake news, clickbait and alternative facts.

    More info here

    The Long Hours: Art in the BC Penitentiary
    August 2018-July 2019

    For most of the inmates, time spent in the BC Pen was full of hard work, boredom, and hour upon hour of silence. “The Long Hours”, a name for the fifteen-hour block of time overnight where the inmates were locked in their cells alone and forbidden to communicate with each other, resulted in many of the inmates taking up various handicrafts to help pass the time, creating artwork with craftsmanship that was often exceptionally high quality. This display showcases examples of these handicrafts and invites visitors to imagine incarceration from a new perspective — one not of destruction, but of production.

    This student display was designed and implemented by the 2018 New Westminster Museum Summer Students at Anvil Centre. 

    Past Exhibitions:

    Wait for Me, Daddy
    October 4, 2014 - August 16, 2015

    Baskets for Barter
    November 29, 2014 - January 24, 2015

    Hair Apparent: A Hairy History of New Westminster
    April 23 - June 21, 2015

    Our Working Waterfront, 1945-2015
    July 9 - October 27, 2015

    Architectural Gems in the Royal City
    September 17, 2015 - May 8, 2016

    The Living Archive
    June 23 - August 21, 2016

    Branching Out: Plants in New Westminster's History
    June 2 – November 20, 2016

    Ornamenting the Ordinary: Crafts of South Asia

    September 10, 2016 – January 2, 2017

    Witness Blanket
    December 5, 2016 - April 28, 2017

    Planning New West:
    A History and Future of Urban Development in New Westminster

    June 1, 2017 – January 21, 2017

    Bottoms Up:
    The Cultures of Drink in the Royal City

    November 4, 2017 – May 27, 2018






    February 17, 2018 - October 7, 2018


    People Gotta Move

    July 5, 2018 - November 16, 2018

    Crossing of Rails, River and Roads

    A new exhibit about transportation in New West developed in collaboration with the Vancouver LEGO Club.

    Transportation themed tours, talks and programs during summer and fall 2018.



    Opening Reception
    Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6 pm - 8 pm
    Exhibit dates: October 26, 2018 -  April 28, 2019

    From the first cumbersome printing press dragged over the stumps and hills of the budding city, this exhibit shows New Westminster’s past of fake news, clickbait and alternative facts.

    Media Literacy Links

    Click on the links below to learn more about disinformation, misinformation and how to be a better social media citizen. 

    We’ll also be updating the museum’s Facebook page regularly to share other articles that helped us in developing the exhibit: follow us for more information on media literacy.



    Verifying the News



    SFU Philosopher’s Café – Getting the Word Out, Part 1

    In association with New Westminster Museum’s feature exhibition, Getting the Word Out: Printing in New Westminster, discuss relevant philosophical issues with members of your community. The printed word has long-held a powerful authority and transformative potential around the world. How do you view the power of print and where do you see it headed? Participants are encouraged to visit the exhibition before the café begins.

    16+ years
    New Westminster Museum
    Wednesday November 21  6:00-7:30pm  Free
    Moderator: Valerie Malla


    Read All About It

    In association with New Westminster Museum’s feature exhibition, Getting the Word Out, join New Westminster archivist Barry Dykes as he presents and discusses the archives’ newspaper collection ranging from the 1870s up to the modern era. Barry will explain the value of historic newspapers, the importance of preserving them, and how modern technologies are making them widely accessible.

    All Ages
    Anvil Centre Studio 411A   
    Saturday February 9  11:00am-12:00pm   By Donation   16633


    Protest & Propaganda: Printmaking Workshop

    Learn about New Westminster’s history of printmaking and propaganda in our museum gallery, then create a relief print of your own New Westminster-inspired propaganda poster during this hands-on printmaking workshop. All supplies included.

    Anvil Centre Studio 411A
    Thursday February 28  6:30-8:00pm  $16     16610


    SFU Philosopher’s Café – Getting the Word Out, Part 2

    In association with New Westminster Museum’s feature exhibition, Getting the Word Out, discuss relevant philosophical issues with members of your community. How do we get access to correct information via the main-stream media outlets? Are they reliable?  Is there such a thing as "fake news"?  What are the effects of propaganda?  Finally, what is our responsibility to ensure that healthy and responsible communications are part of our real experiences?

    New Westminster Museum
    Wednesday March 6  6:00-7:30pm  Free
    Moderator: Valerie Malla


    The Changing Face of Journalism: Panel Discussion

    How has the role of journalists and our local newspapers changed since the 1990s, especially in the age of digital news? In association with New Westminster Museum’s feature exhibition, Getting the Word Out, join Mario Bartel and a group of local panelists as they discuss their combined decades of experience telling stories and connecting communities in the Greater Vancouver Area.

    All Ages
    Anvil Centre Studio 411A 
    Saturday March 9  11:00am-12:00pm  By Donation   16632


    Updated October 22, 2018


  • The New Westminster Archives is home to a documentary heritage that tells the story of New Westminster’s evolution from British Columbia’s first fledgling capital to a bustling 21st century city. Preserved for present and future generations are over 150 years of archival records that document local organizations, businesses, government, families, and individuals. Here you’ll find photographs, maps, plans, diaries, letters, city records, and oral histories. In the reading room there are reference files on people, properties, and subjects all related to the City of New Westminster.

    If you have questions about your family’s history, the age of your house, the development of your neighbourhood, the history of a New Westminster business, or about the administration of local government, the New Westminster Museum and Archives is the place to discover your heritage.

    Enquiries to the collections

    Click here to search over 18,000 Archival records using easy keyword searches. Email links, post images to your social media site or comment on records to our Archivist.

    Archives staff will also research a request for up to one hour in duration at no cost. Beyond one-hour, requestors are encouraged to conduct their own onsite access to archival records, with the assistance and supervision of archival staff. If self-research is not an option, you can contract archival research services at $60/hour.

    T: 604-527-4640



    Photo Reproduction Request & Conditions

    Method of reproduction

    (tax extra)

    Scanned image emailed


    Scanned image on supplied disc


    Photocopy (per page)


    Mailing in Canada


    Archive Research Fee



    All orders require advanced payment by cash, debit, VISA or MasterCard.

    Archives Hours

    Monday to Sunday: 10am – 5pm (Reading Room library open)

    Monday to Sunday: 12-5pm (Reference Services)

  • The Archives is pleased to offer an Archives Online service.

    Search over 18,000 Archival records using easy keyword searches. Email links, post images to your social media site or comment on records to our Archivist. Check back regularly as the Archives Online database will continue to grow as it represents only a portion of our collection.
  • Irving House Public Hours

    Saturdays & Sundays from 12 pm - 4 pm

    Private Tours

    Available by appointment. Please call 604.527.4640.

    Written Tours

    We are pleased to offer written tours of Irving House in the following languages:

    The Irving House script is translated by our wonderful volunteers. Please refer to the volunteer section of our website If you are interested in volunteering your time and skills to translate the script into additional languages.

    Located in the heart of the Royal City, Irving House is one of the oldest community heritage sites in BC. Step back to the 1800s as you enter the colonial home of Captain William Irving, King of the Fraser River. 

    Over 140 years of memories live within Irving House "…the handsomest, the best and most home-like house of which British Columbia can yet boast..." was how Irving House was described in the British Columbian newspaper in April 1865.

    With 14 furnished rooms to enjoy, Irving House is a must-see for everyone interested in New Westminster’s past and anyone interested in the Victorian and Edwardian periods, heritage architecture or colonial BC. 

    During your visit you will admire the ornate ceiling plasterwork, the glow of original wallpaper and the elaborate fireplaces. You can easily imagine the festivities and celebrations that took place in the parlour and formal dining room. Let our costumed guides step you back in time!

    You can also visit Irving House online through a Virtual Tour.

    Irving House Restoration Work

    Irving House was closed for restoration work from April 2-27, 2018, and reopened on April 28, 2018. The house’s entrance and upper hall were restored to the late Victorian Period, revealing papers not seen since the mid-20th century. 

    In 2009, while working with conservator Simone Vogel-Horridge, museum staff found original ca.1897-1903 papers in the entrance and upper hallway of the house — a 3-piece set of consisting of a wallpaper, 18” frieze, and a ceiling paper.  Last year, these stunning papers were meticulously redrawn and colour-matched by Stuart Stark, Heritage Consultant and wallpaper designer, to the original palette used in the house. They were then printed in England and shipped to New Westminster for installation. The hallway cornice work and entrance ceiling medallion will also be painted to match the original colour scheme as a complement to the papers.

    This work is part of an ongoing multi-year project to stabilize and restore Irving House to its original appearance at the turn of the 20th century. Since 2011, Irving House has received a new fire and electrical system along with a state of the art geothermal heating and cooling system. The exterior of the house has also been repaired and repainted to match the original ca.1900 colour scheme.  Last fall, Ms. Vogel-Horridge returned to clean and restore the rare and original gilded 1887 wallpapers in the house’s Small Parlour and will be returning this spring to do the same in the Large Parlour.  All work was completed at the end of May. 

  • Samson V Fall Public Hours

    Closed - reopening May 2019

    Samson V, launched in 1937, is the last surviving wooden steam-powered sternwheeler built for the federal Department of Public Works for use as a snag-boat on the Fraser River. At 418 gross tons and 115’ on deck, she was the fifth in a series of similar vessels dating back to 1884 that cleared debris, maintained aids to navigation and government docks, performed surveys and served other functions as needed.

    Samson V was the last steam-powered sternwheeler to operate in Canada and representative of a of the federal government’s long-standing involvement in maintaining the waterways of western Canada. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has declared the operation of sternwheeler snag-boats by the Department of Public works on the rivers of British Columbia an event of national historic significance and in the future intends to commemorate this by means of a plaque installed on or near Samson V, “the last representative example” of these vessels.

    Samson V was retired in 1980 and sold to the City of New Westminster for one dollar on the understanding that the vessel would be preserved as a museum and that it occupy a unique place in the Province’s and City’s maritime heritage. Samson V remains the only completely intact and floating wooden sternwheeler in North America.

  • We have openings for volunteers that involve a short interview and orientation. Opportunities include:

    Take the first step and submit a Volunteer Application form.

  • Do you have city-related photographs, family heirlooms or other objects from New Westminster’s history that you would like to donate to the museum and archives? 

    The benefit of donating archival and artefacts is the museum and archives ability to properly store and care for these items while enriching New Westminster's history to residents, visitors and researchers.

    Learn how to donate your items by contacting our or .

    Donation Policy

    Collection Policy