In 1967, the Centennial year, a small group of Islanders decided they wanted to do something of lasting value for the community. The Historians were formed and they began collecting information about the history of people and places on the island. This information was gathered, and together with writer Irene Howard, the book Bowen Island 1872-1972 was completed.
By 1969 the organization was incorporated and registered as a Canadian Charitable Organization. The letters, artifacts, information, and photographs gathered over the years grew to such an extent that they soon realized a museum and archives was needed. The proceeds from the book combined with money made by countless bake sales, plant sales, dinners, auctions, jumble sales, wine and cheese parties etc., was enough to purchase the present property, known as the Orr property, in 1974.
Fundraising continued by the dedicated volunteers and in 1983 a storage building was built to house the artifacts that until then had be kept in various locations scattered across the island. The Archives were established in 1984 with the help of a New Horizons Grant, and in 1985 the database programs were set up. In 1996, a Casino grant made it possible to raise the building and create a museum on the first floor. Our first exhibit “Christmas Past and Present” opened with toys gathered from the public just in time for Christmas 1997. The “Higgins Loggers Cottage and Logging Exhibit” was officially opened in 2000.
We have come a long way since 1967. The Museum and Archives was created through the hard work of dedicated volunteers who had one desire – to keep the history of this very unique community from disappearing. We continue to operate largely through volunteer effort.