Museum History


Sam at the original "Little Northern Museum" c. 1960
The original "Little Northern Museum" c. 1960 - a "Collector's Paradise"

Upon his retirement from teaching in 1958, Sam acquired a pair of small bunkhouses from The Pas Lumber Company and joined them together on a Gordon Avenue property to house his first "Little Northern Museum" The new attraction was popular with both locals and visitors, with over 5,000 names recorded in the guest book in the first eight months of operation. Sam lived on-site, and the Museum was often open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. As testimony to Sam's dedication to the Museum and it's visitors, a Museum sign from that era was occasionally hung on the front door reading "Attendant in Garden".

Sam's ever-expanding collection soon outgrew this modest setting, and in 1970, as a provincial centennial project, the local Rotary Club constructed a larger building to house the Museum and its live-in Curator. Sam was a hospitable guide - a veritable fount of knowledge who even prepared tea and biscuits for his favorite guests. Sam passed away in 1978, by which time the Town of The Pas had taken over administration of the Museum.

Since that time the Museum has continued to grow and evolve under the direction of a number of staff, the most notable of whom was Paul Thistle, a long-serving Curator who oversaw the renovation of The Pas Court House and Community Building into a purpose-designed, climate controlled museum building, and the subsequent move of the Museum's encyclopedic holdings into the new facility.

Today, as a community museum, our collection mandate is focused primarily on artifacts and archival materials that are significant to the local region. The collection not only includes the strange and bizarre, but is also a unique and important record of the natural and cultural history of The Pas and surrounding area.