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.

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: 10AM – 5PM, Thursday open late to 8PM

    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

    E:

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  • Current Exhibitions:

    Ornamenting the Ordinary: Crafts of South Asia

    Feature Gallery
    September 10, 2016 – January 2, 2017
    Opening Reception: September 10, 2016, 6:00 - 9:00 pm

     

    Upcoming Exhibitions:

    Witness Blanket
    Gallery 7
    *New Opening Date* December 5, 2016 - April 21, 2017
    Opening Reception: December 13, 2016, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

     

    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 of New Westminster

    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
  • 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

    E:

    Reproductions

    Photo Reproduction Request & Conditions

    Method of reproduction

    PRICE
    (tax extra)

    Scanned image emailed

    $12.50 

    Scanned image on supplied disc

    $14.50 

    5 x 7

    8 x 10

    11 x 17

    13 x 19

    $10.00   

     $15.00 

    $30.00

    $35.00

    Photocopy (per page)

     $0.25 

    Mailing in Canada

    $5.00

    Archive Research Fee

    $60.00

     

    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.
  • 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 Public Fall/Winter Hours

    Saturdays and Sundays: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Private Tours

    Available by appointment. Please call 604.527.4640.

  • The 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.

    The Samson V was the last steam-powered sternwheeler to operate in Canada and representative of a long-standing federal government 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 the Samson V, “the last representative example” of these vessels.

    The 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. The Samson V remains the only completely intact and floating wooden sternwheeler in North America.

    Samson V Fall Hours

    Saturdays and Sundays: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

  • 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