Museum Collection & Archives

Museum  collection of artifacts


Since its inception in 1964, the Lake of the Woods Museum has been actively collecting artifacts that are illustrative of this area’s history. Now more than 45 years later, and with a collection in excess of 25 000 articles, the museum continues to collect from a very generous public, both locally, and from all over North America and the world. Former local residents, wherever they are living, continue to support the museum through their donations of goods and funds.

The nucleus of the collection was a donation of over 300 artifacts from former Kenora Indian agent, Captain Frank Edwards. Edwards served as Indian agent here from 1920 until his death in 1945. His collection of beadwork, pipes, baskets, and other First Nations artifacts was an excellent foundation for the rest of the collection.

First Nations and fur trade artifacts, household goods, Rat Portage souvenirs, natural history specimens, minerals, textiles, industrial and business items, navigational gear and models highlight the major events and activities in the history of Kenora, Keewatin, Jaffray Melick and the Lake of the Woods.

The museum also actively collects photographs, journals, documents, and other archival material that are directly related to the history of this area.



In addition to its collection of artifacts, the Museum is the repository for many archival resources including: photographs, maps, journals, correspondence, business records, memoirs, etc. all related to the history of Kenora and area.

Staff is able to provide general information about the archival holdings and are happy to assist researchers. Research requests may be made by filling out this online form. Response time to research requests varies based on the extent of the research required, the available resources, and scheduling of staff time.

If you wish to do research on site, please contact the museum in advance to make an appointment to ensure that a staff member is available to assist you with your request.

Did you know?

Kenora was once claimed by Ontario and by Manitoba. Both provinces claimed the area between 1878 and 1884. The case was resolved in 1884 by Queen Victoria’s Privy Council, the highest court in the world at the time.