Main Floor

Map of the First Floor Exhibits

The Main Floor of the Thunder Bay Museum is home to the Peter McKellar Gallery, that features our long-term exhibits. The gallery was named after the founding father of The Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society.

The main floor also features two display cases that are rotated 3-4 times per year. These are the Recent Years Case and Lobby Display Cases.

A gift shop is available off the main lobby. We also have a virtual gift shop available.

Recent Years Case

Judicial Exhibit featured in the Recent Years Display Case
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Judicial Exhibit

Did you know the Thunder Bay Museum used to be the Fort William Police Station? Learn more about Thunder Bay’s judicial history though Crime and Conviction: A Tale of Two Cities.

This exhibit was produced by Haileigh Riddell through a partnership with Lakehead University History Department and the Thunder Bay Museum

Lobby Display Cases

History of Soda Pop in Northwestern Ontario

Explore the Museum’s soda pop bottle collection and learn about the history of some of the many companies in Northwestern Ontario who produced soda since 1875. Can you guess some of the most popular flavours?

This exhibit was produced by Ella Whitehead and the Thunder Bay Museum staff.

Lobby Display Cases: The Good, The Bad, and the Bubby. All about Soda Pop
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Peter McKellar Gallery

Diver display in the Peter McKellar Gallery

These long-term exhibits recount the 10,000 year history of people in the Thunder Bay region of Ontario, Canada. 

See the tools of survival made by the region’s first peoples, stunning Ojibway and Cree beadwork, a full-sized wigwam, and the relics of a once great fur trade. As you move through time, encounter the story of Silver Islet, once the continent’s richest silver mine, visit a Canadian Pacific Railway station, which greeted many of the immigrants that settled the region in the 19th century, or view Thunder Bay’s early harbour with its towering elevators and booming maritime industries.

The town’s very first electricity was created in the 1880s with the simple steam-powered generator now on display. Lock yourself in a functional prison cell, circa 1910, and view artifacts highlighting our pioneering history of Municipal Ownership, shoemaking at The Lakehead, and the tools of the pulp and paper industry. 

Enjoy early films, several produced in Northwestern Ontario, in our 1928 vintage theatre, and stroll down a recreated Thunder Bay street complete with streetcar, a 19th century hotel/tavern and fire hall, a doctor’s office, furrier, tobacconist from the turn of the century, a real estate office from 1913, and a newspaper press room.

Visit the general store, its shelves lined with vintage goods, look in on a seamstress at work, and glimpse through the window of a hairdressing salon from the 1930s.

Some of the earliest HAM radios, most made by Charles McDonald, a pioneer in the field of telecommunications, can be seen in his recreated workshop.