Greater Vernon Museum and Archives

Greater Vernon Museum and Archives in Vernon, North Okanagan, Canada | Museum

The beginnings of the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, can be traced back to three men, Charles Haines, David Howrie, Sr., and W.C. Pound. Haines, a Coldstream orchardist, had trained as a cabinet-maker and taxidermist and, in his spare time, had amassed a large collection of native artifacts. Howrie was in the construction business and had been mayor of Vernon, British Columbia, from 1943-1948. Pound had worked in Vernon as a taxidermist and furrier for 58 years. On his death, his mounted specimens were left to the city with the understanding that the collection would become the nucleus of a Museum. In 1950, the first small Museum was organized in the local high school. Haines built cases while Howrie handled the politics of developing the structure of the organization. In 1954, the first board of directors was elected to run the Museum on a budget of $250 a year. In 1956, the Museum moved to the former police station and ten years later, moved to a new civic building (Civic Centre Complex) shared with the art gallery and library. In 1970, the City of Vernon, British Columbia, enacted a bylaw establishing a Board of Museum and Archives.
The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives occupies a 1-story brick-block building that was constructed in 1966. The building is one of five that make up the Civic Centre Complex. The other four structures are occupied by Vernon City Hall, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Vernon Fire Department, and the Vernon Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library (constructed later in 1988-89). The grounds surrounding the complex consist of walkways, courtyards, fountains, and grassy areas with an abundance of outdoor seating.
The original complex, consisting of four buildings, was designed by a consortium of local architects (Allen, Gower, Huggins, and Meiklejohn). Shortly after the project was completed, the architects submitted a letter stating, "The Civic Centre is perhaps unique in Canada in that to our knowledge no other town of comparable size has developed a site such as Vernon's with all new civic buildings integrated one with the other to provide an architectural balanced scheme. The buildings were designed using natural materials together with sheet copper (and) sloping roof forms. The form of the buildings echoes the shapes of the hills surrounding Vernon."
The Museum building originally housed the Museum, art gallery, and library. Today, the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives occupies the entire structure which consists of approximately 13,000 square feet.
In 1968, the Civic Centre Complex received Honourable Mention as being "...among the 100 most beautiful buildings in Canada" in a submission for the Massey Medal Award for Architecture. Later, in 1971 the Complex was judged the Zone "C" winner for the Park and Tilford Beautification Award, placing it second in British Columbia that year.

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Location Info


3009 32nd Avenue
British Columbia
Visit Site
Holds 18
000 Photographs
200 Fonds/collections
Small Research Library
Brick-block Building
Constructed In 1966
Grassy Areas Abundant Outdoor Seating.

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