About Us

Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society

Preserving History Since 1908

Our Story
The Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society was created in 1908 to preserve and interpret the history of Northwestern Ontario through lectures, publications, the erection of monuments and plaques, and the preservation of documents.

Among the Society’s many accomplishments in its early years, was the publication of a long series of valuable historical reports and the construction of a monument to the original Fort William fur trading post at the foot of McTavish Street in Thunder Bay. It was unveiled in 1916 by our founding father, Peter McKellar.

Our Museum
By 1942, enough documents and artifacts had been collected to warrant the opening of a museum in the basement of the local library and, in 1972, the Society moved to new quarters in a former registry office. Short of space for its growing operations, the Society undertook a major campaign in the mid-1990s to acquire and renovate a former police station and courthouse, which today is the home of the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society. Our major exhibit gallery opened in 1997. The Museum is located at 425 Donald Street East, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Our Mandate
The Society’s mandate has always been to serve both the city and district of Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, and to preserve the history of the entire region. Today an active, efficient organization has assumed responsibilities far beyond those undertaken by its founders. The Society operates as a museum, an archives, and a historical society, and offers a wide range of programs and services in each area. Feel free to contact us for further information about any of our programs, services, or memberships.

Our Future
Although today the museum and its programs are fully operational, renovations to our building continue.
As this rendering illustrates, plans exist to restore the front facade to its 1910 configuration. This was partially completed in 2007 along with the addition of a visible storage gallery to the right front of the building. All three floors of the interior including galleries, library, archives and administration areas have been completed. Only the upper portion of the facade remains to be completed.

We wish to thank all of our funders over the years — each of the three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal) and the many hundreds of individuals, businesses, and foundations whose generosity has made our renovations so successful.