Travel Back in Time at These Local Museums

Whether it is an interest in the local art and heritage or just a way to pass the time, Sunset Country's museums will not disappoint and are guaranteed to leave you feeling like you had just step back in time!

Museums Showcase a Unique History

Sunset Country's communities can distinguish themselves from other areas for a number of reasons; not only is the landscape that surrounds the towns breathtaking, but their involvement in preserving their local history is also unrivaled. Luckily for visitors, their history, culture, as well as artifacts can be viewed in many local museums, which cover a variety of topics and themes involved with the towns.

Fort Frances Museum Hudson's Bay exhibit
Fort Frances Museum Hudson's Bay exhibit

The Hudson Bay Company

Because the gold rush and famous Hudson Bay fur trade were important to many of the region's towns, it is no wonder most museums have permanent exhibits displaying artifacts such as equipment, clothing, and housewares from the locals during the period. The history of Aboriginal peoples in Northwest Ontario is also a common display in the museums, however, most museums in Sunset Country have rotating exhibits, dealing with themes unique to each community – including local heroes and celebrities, commercial antiques, settlement evolution as well as fashion, photographs and written document from the past. Because of the region's backdrop, many museum exhibits deal with the natural world, incorporating the importance of the environment with the importance of their community's past.


Beautiful Beadwork at the Lake of the Woods Museum

Beautiful beadwork is displayed at many museums

Besides the information displayed in the exhibits, many of the museums offer educational workshops for children and youth as well as adults. The workshops can span anywhere from watching videos available at the museums to arts and crafts activities, such as pottery and painting. Many of the museums also display the work of local artists, which can be viewed in an exhibit or taken home for your own pleasure at the gift shops offered. The Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre has created new multi-media exhibits including "Listen to Naamiwan’s Dream and the Legend of Red Lake" and "The History of Aviation," which are fantastic and should not be missed. 

Famous Dryden Buck

Famous Dryden Buck at the Dryden & District Museum

The famous "Dryden Buck" is housed at the Dryden & District Museum. Each year hunters throughout North America come to Northwestern Ontario in search of whitetail deer. At the time this magnificent specimen, known as the "Dryden Buck" was killed, a score could not take place because it was held as evidence as it was killed illegally. In January 2005, after 14 months, it was scored and unofficially ranked 192 7/8 typical whitetail deer, setting a new Ontario record. The Dryden Buck is displayed in the museum to illustrate some of the rich resources in the area, and as a reminder of the importance of respecting wildlife laws.

Museums in Ontario's Sunset Country

Atikokan: Atikokan Centennial Museum or on Facebook

Barwick: Chapple Museum

Dryden: Dryden and District Museum or on Facebook

Emo: Rainy River District Pioneer Museum

Fort Frances: Fort Frances Museum or on Facebook

Ignace: The Dennis Smyk Heritage Centre

Kenora: The Muse: Lake of the Woods Museum - The Douglas Family Art Centre or on Facebook

Rainy River: Rainy River Heritage Square Museum

Red Lake: Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre or on Facebook

Sioux Lookout: Sioux Lookout Museum

Thunder Bay Area: Fort William Historical Park 

Whether it is an interest in the local art and heritage or just a way to pass the time, Sunset Country's museums will not disappoint and are guaranteed to leave you feeling like you had just stepped back in time! Visit one soon, whether you are a local or a visitor to one of our museums. For more information, please feel free to contact our toll-free phone number at 1-800-665-7567, or contact the Northwestern Ontario museums listed above.

About Gerry Cariou

Gerry is Executive Director of Ontario's Sunset Country Travel Association and is an avid fisherman and nature photographer. Gerry has been writing about Sunset Country's varied travel experiences for over 20 years and lives these experiences year-round in Kenora, Ontario.

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