Archives & Collections

About the Collections & Archives

The Cranbrook History Centre collects and preserves artifacts and archival records of permanent value to the history of Cranbrook, the East Kootenay, and Canadian rail travel. The collecting scope currently emphasizes three areas:

  • Artifacts and specimens which communicate the human and natural history of the city site of Cranbrook, and the East Kootenay.
  • Artifacts and heavy track equipment which narrate the social, political, economic, and technological impact of rail travel in Canada.
  • Archive material in the form of photographs, documents, film, and digital information associated with the City of Cranbrook, Canadian rail travel, and the East Kootenay.

Historical Photographs

The Cranbrook History Centre (CHC) has partnered with The Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History (CBIRH), a non-profit historical society dedicated to furthering the documentation and presentation of this region’s history.

They partner with small organizations and individuals to develop regional collections of historical material. The CHC is just one organization that partners with CBIRH. CHC loaned its photographic collection to CBIRH and they digitized it at no cost to the museum. The proceeds from the photo sales are shared between CHC and CBIRH. This money helps the museum with operating costs while the CBIRH uses their portion of the sales proceeds to maintain the digital collection, their website, the database, and their day to day operations.

Online Database & Historic Photographs

Our Online Archives are under construction!

Click the link below to explore our online collection while we update our database. Thank you!


The Scope of Our Archives

Our archival holdings document the history of Cranbrook and the East Kootenay area, and rail travel in Canada. The collection includes material relating to the municipality, schools, hospital, courthouse, businesses, family histories, industry, and local sports.

Genealogical Research

The Cranbrook Archives has many ways to research your family genealogy:

  • Voters lists from the incorporation of the City
  • Cemetery records
  • School class registers
  • Archival photographs
  • Almost complete collection of newspapers published in Cranbrook between 1898 and present day. Currently the newspapers between 1898 and 1976 have been digitized.
  • Early directories and telephone books
  • Small library of local history books

If you need help with your research, send us an email with all information you currently have. If you require staff assistance for your research, standard research fees will apply, but you can make an appointment to come in and do the research yourself too!

You many also access our collections database online to help start your research.

For Physical Access to the Archives

Please book an appointment with archives staff:

Phone: 250-489-3918


Begin Your Research

  • Researchers must make an appointment with archives staff either by phone or e-mail. A detailed explanation of what you are looking for is required and a brief description of your project. This will give us some time to pull preliminary information to get you started on your research;
  • Researchers should provide as much information as possible so that the necessary material can be ready for the researcher when they arrive at the archives;
  • Unlike libraries, archives do not permit public access to the stack areas; Instead your request is brought to the Archives Work Room for access;
  • Archival documents are fragile, so gloves are provided for the researcher along with a list of the facility’s research policies;
  • Remember that a fee will be charged for both the time (after 15 minutes) involving staff gathering the necessary information, and for any photocopies or digital scans.

Research Fee

Research can be done at the archives in person for free by appointment. Appointments can be made by phone or e-mail. You can also fill out the request form below or print and email the research form to the Archives using the form here.

Fee Schedule for Research and Document/Image Reproductions

Reproduction FeesPrice
Photocopy, B&W, up to 8.5” x 14”$0.25 per page
Photocopy, Colour, up to 8.5” x 14”$0.50 per page
Digital Scan, JPG or PNG$14.00 each
Usage Fees 
Personal/Academic UseFree
Non-Profit OrganizationsNegotiable
Publication (includes online)$10.00 each
Commercial, under 500 units$25.00 each
Commercial, over 500 unitsNegotiable
Other Fees 
*Research$10.00/30 minutes
Shipping/Handling/Customs/PostageActual Cost to Museum

Payment required in advance. Cash, cheque, Visa, Mastercard accepted. Payment by cheque may not be processed on the day of the transaction. Rush orders cost double.

* Preliminary Investigation (under 15 minutes): Free.  Preliminary investigation to determine if the archives has any material related to the research request and would come with a recommendation if it seems worthwhile to go further.

Prices do not include applicable taxes

Just looking for photos?

Our collection is now online thanks to the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History – you can view and order photos directly through them.

Learn More

Donating to the Museum

The Cranbrook History Centre actively collects and solicits new artifacts and documents on a year-round basis. If you have object(s) that you believe would add to the Cranbrook History Centre’s artifact and archives collections, please contact the Chief Curator at

The Curator will discuss with you the item(s) you are proposing to donate to determine if the object(s) meet the museum’s collection mandate and policies. If the items do not meet the museum’s requirements, museum staff may refer you to other organizations that may accept your donation.

If the items meet the Museum’s requirements, you will be asked to:

  • Complete and sign a Temporary Donation Receipt or Deed of Gift form
  • Bring the object(s) to the museum for consideration by the Chief Curator (depending on size)

Donations must be unconditional to be accepted.

Museum staff or volunteers may contact you after the item(s) are submitted for additional information.


How are potential donations reviewed?

Potential donations of artifacts are reviewed by the Chief Curator to determine the artifact’s suitability relative to the mandate of the Cranbrook History Centre. The Curator also reviews the condition of the item and examines the existing collection to see if there are examples of similar items that have already been collected. If the item meets the museum’s criteria, the item is then accepted into the collection. Items are also accepted for use in the museum’s Education Collection if it does not have a mandate-related provenance.

Will the Cranbrook History Centre appraise my donation for its monetary value?

Under Revenue Canada, the museum can provide appraisals for the monetary value of items with a value of under $1,000. Donations for objects valued at under $1,000 are evaluated by museum staff using a minimum of three industry-accepted contemporary sources. Donations with a value of over $1,000 will need to be evaluated by a third-party appraiser. Since the beneficiary of the appraisal is ultimately the donor for taxation purposes, the Museum does not pay for third-party appraisals. Museum staff do not appraise objects for a third-party appraisal.

Can I take a tax deduction for my donation?

The Cranbrook History Centre is operated by the Cranbrook Archives, Museum and Landmark Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization. To ensure that you receive the maximum tax benefit, it is recommended that you consult with your own accountant, attorney, and/or Revenue Canada.

Will the Cranbrook History Centre exhibit the artifacts or documents I donate?

The History Centre cannot guarantee that any objects or documents donated to its collection will be exhibited. Only a small fraction of the collection is on view at any given time. However, the museum does strive to provide the best storage conditions possible in its storage areas and galleries to insure the long-term preservation of all collection materials. Objects and documents the History Centre receives may also be used in the museums Education Collection. These objects are afforded the same care as other museum objects but will be made available to school groups for hands-on learning programs.

Does the Cranbrook History Centre accept long-term loans?

The museum does not accept long-term loans. While it does accept loan materials on a short-term basis in conjunction with exhibitions and other programs, the museum prefers to commit its resources to the storage and preservation of materials in the collection.

Contact Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.