Courtenay & District Museum

  • Welcome Back
  • Step Into Wilderness: A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in and around the Comox Valley
  • Summer Fossil Tours
  • Exhibit: Finding a Voice: Gender, Sexuality and Music Through the Work of Elinor Dunsmuir
  • A Sincere Thank You
  • Watershed Moments
  • Gift Shop News
  • Your Membership and Donations Make A Difference
  • It's All There in Black and White
  • Photo of the Month
  • Museum Funding

  • Phone:



    Mailing Address:
    207 Fourth Street,
    Courtenay BC,
    V9N 1G7

    Tuesday – Saturday
    10:00 am to 4:00 pm

    John Wilson

    Vice President
    Daryl Wright

    Past President
    April Shopland

    Rick Ross
    Jim Haggart
    Ross Dingwall
    Mary Everson
    Julie Fortin

    Member of...

    British Columbia Museums Association

    Canadian Museums

    Archives Association of
    British Columbia

    British Columbia Historical Federation

    Comox Museum

    Cumberland Museum

    Comox Air Force Museum

    Filberg Heritage Lodge

    I-Hos Gallery

    HMCS ALBERNI Museum and Memorial

    Nim Nim Interpretive Centre


    Welcome Back

    The Courtenay and District Museum team have re-opened the museum doors with public and museum team safety in mind. First things first, we created a safety plan based upon provincial requirements. Working with this information and with information from our colleagues and associations, the museum team created safety protocols for distancing, occupancy limits and sanitizing and implemented these protocols in gallery areas. We also cleaned spaces, moved exhibits and collections, overhauled the gift shop and worked with contractors and city staff to redo floors and surfaces.

    Museum hours are 10:00am to 4:00pm Tuesday through Saturday with an occupancy limit of ten at a time. Hand sanitizing stations are available on entrance and throughout the building and masks are suggested and available. Archival services are limited at this time but inquiries by phone are welcome. Our thanks go out to the City of Courtenay and all funders and donors for continuing to support the museum through this transition and into this re-opening phase.


    Step Into Wilderness: A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in and around the Comox Valley

    A photographic history of early wilderness exploration in the Comox Valley and surroundings, from Qualicum to Campbell River.

    The Courtenay Museum team and volunteers have just completed several years of research and writing in preparation for an October 2020 release from Harbour Publishing of Step Into Wilderness—A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in and around the Comox Valley. This full colour hardback contains 150 images, maps and ephemera and highlights stories from the Comox Valley and surrounding areas.

    Step Into Wilderness is the second publication with Harbour Publishing and follows up the popular Watershed Moments-A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District published in 2015. The museum is offering pre-sales now to those who would like to avoid the Christmas rush. The book will retail for $39.95 plus GST but pre-sales are offered at 10% for non-members and 25% for current members. Anyone interested can email the museum: or phone 250-334-0686 ext 2. All proceeds from the book go to the Courtenay and District Museum.


    Summer Fossil Tours

    Join the Courtenay Museum for one of our signature fossil tours, led by Natural History Curator, Pat Trask. Explore the beautiful riverbeds of the Comox Valley for eighty million year old marine fossils!

    COVID-19 safety protocols are in place and tours are limited to small groups. Please visit our site for more information or phone 250-334-0686 to book a tour.


    983.781 Emily Elinor Dunsmuir by Ernest Castelein. Dated 1924. Courtesy of Craigdarroch Castle

    Exhibit: Finding a Voice: Gender, Sexuality and Music Through the Work of Elinor Dunsmuir

    Now to October 19, 2020

    Elinor was a granddaughter of the Dunsmuir patriarch Robert and his wife, Joan; the sixth child of eldest son James and his wife, Laura.

    Elinor grew up with everything but was a square peg in British Columbia society of the day.

    Read More


    A Sincere Thank You

    Courtenay and District Museum Board and staff extend a deep and sincere thank you to the late Allan Duncan Pritchard for his gift of a significant portion of his estate to the Courtenay and District Museum. At his bequest, this gift will support research and education related to local social history. Before he passed away, Dr. Allan Pritchard's research and provision of records played an important role in forming part of the narrative for the museum's 2015 publication Watershed Moments—A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District published by Harbour Publishing. He then provided funds for the museum’s second publication Step Into Wilderness—A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in and around the Comox Valley to be published by Harbour Publishing October 1, 2020. Allan Pritchard’s life-long scholarly interests live on to play a significant role in furthering human history studies in British Columbia. We are also grateful to his niece and nephew Sandra Neal, Ron Pritchard and families for their time and generosity in this matter.


    Watershed Moments

    Here is the latest newsletter installment of an image from the museum’s award-winning book Watershed Moments – A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District.

    Photo credit: Boating party on the Courtenay River, ca. 1924. The girl at the front of photo in the white hat is Kathleen Stephens. Photo: CDM Stubbs Collection.

    Click Here for a Larger Version


    Gift Shop News

    Check out these new totes made by Thornback & Peel Co. of the UK. The totes are made from strong canvas and have a good size gusset that expands to create a large carrying capacity. A perfect bag for grocery shopping! We have two very attractive prints: Rabbit & Cabbage and Blackbird & Bramble. These totes are a great gift idea and retail for $14.95 each plus tax.


    Your Membership and Donations Make A Difference

    Purchasing a membership to the Courtenay and District Museum, now in its 59th year, supports heritage preservation in the Comox Valley through special events, lectures, education programmes, research and exhibitions. Your membership benefits these award winning programmes on a year round basis and we appreciate it!

    Becoming a member provides you with discounts in the gift shop and on lectures and an opportunity to support one of the most active regional museums in British Columbia. Thank you for your support.

    Click here to Join

    Click Here to Make a Donation


    It's All There in Black and White

    The Dunsmuir family name is well known to British Columbians whether it be through the history of coal, rail or politics. But did you know that Elinor Dunsmuir, the subject of our temporary travelling exhibit, had a home in Comox?

    Elinor's house, built in 1929 (not 1906 as reported in this article), was part of the unsuccessful "Save Comox Hill" campaign of the early 1990s. The final fate of her home is discussed in this article from the Comox District Free Press of May 11, 1994.

    Read More

    With legacy support from the Bickle Family and the Comox Valley Echo.

    Bonus Click here to see a photograph of the house


    Photo of the Month

    CDM #980.61.1 Williams Beach picnic, c. 1907

    You can view more photos like this on our website. Click here to visit our holdings.


    Museum Funding

    The Courtenay and District Historical Society was registered as a nonprofit society in 1961 to preserve and interpret cultural and natural heritage of the Comox Valley. It has functioned as an independent society since that time. Funds are derived from the generous support of the City of Courtenay, British Columbia Arts Council, Comox Valley Regional District, British Columbia Gaming Branch, and from museum generated revenues and donations.

    Proud sponsors of the Courtenay & District Museum:

    The City of Courtenay

    BC Arts Councils

    Regional District Comox-Strathcona

    British Columbia Gaming Commision