FRONT LOBBY CASES

Displays in the front lobby cases are rotated approximately three times per year.

Chippewa Park Carousel

In partnership with the Save Our Carousel campaign, this exhibit examines the history of Thunder Bay’s Chippewa Park Carousel, one of the few remaining C.W. Parker carousels still in operation in North America. Featuring one the carousel’s own horses, it highlights the restoration process each of the carousel’s horses is undergoing, while also situating the carousel in the broader context of the various carousel styles and carvers in North America.

RECENT YEARS CASE

Displays in our Recent Years case are rotated approximately 3-4 times per year.

Tattooing by Nels Johnson

Nels Johnson was a pioneer of tattooing in Thunder Bay. This small exhibit highlights the story of his tattoo and barber shop business, some of the equipment and designs he used, and his impact on tattooing in Thunder Bay in the present. This exhibit is presented with generous assistance from members of his family.

PETER MCKELLAR GALLERY

The main gallery on the first floor was named for Peter McKellar, the founding father of the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society.

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. Explore some of these displays below: