Spotlight on the Museum Collection

Artifacts in the Museum’s collection are reflective of the people, places, events, organizations and communities of the North Shore. Over ten thousand in total, they range from logging and shipbuilding tools, mountain recreation equipment, ship models and furniture, to Coast Salish cedar basketry and carvings, works of art, and signature pieces like the sculpted maquettes for the lions at the north side of the Lions Gate Bridge and the prototype for an undersea ‘submersible’ built in North Vancouver. Learn more about the stories that these artifacts represent on our North Van History pages.

Should you have any questions regarding the Museum Collection, please contact Curator, Karen Dearlove.

While undertaking a major collection review (see below), the following artifacts were revealed.

Stained Glass Window

col_windowThis stained glass window came from the “Lonsdale Block”, a commercial building located at the southwest corner of 15th and Lonsdale Avenue. The 1911 building was demolished in the 1970s.

– 1991.2.1 Gift of Red Barn Antiques


col_boardDesigned by Rick Harry, Xwalacktun, of the Squamish Nation, this snowboard was custom made in 2009 for the First Nations Snowboard Team. It features designs from both the Lil’wat Nation and the Squamish Nation. It acknowledges the partnership that inspired the formation of the Team in 2004.

– 2009.8.1 Gift of the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives Society

City of North Vancouver Plaque

col_metalThis civic seal shows a beehive of “industry” flanked by an anchor and ship’s wheel. These represent “progress” and recognize the City’s importance as a centre of maritime activity.

– 1990.8.1 Gift of the City of North Vancouver


col_glovesThese Dene gauntlets were once owned by Maisie Hurley, an advocate for native rights. She received them, in 1949, as a gift while travelling on behalf of the Native Brotherhood of B.C.

– 1986.19.2 a-b Maisie Hurley Collection

PGE Railway Sign

col_railroadThis circular painted sign features the PGE’s iconic caribou emblem. North Vancouver’s PGE railway station, located at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue, was built in 1914. The PGE was intended to be an important link to the B.C. interior.

– 1984.84.8 Gift of B.C. Railway

Model Tug Boat

col_boatThis is a model of the Charles H. Cates XV, which was part of North Vancouver’s Cates tugboat fleet. The model was made from scratch in 1990 by Ian Cunningham.

– 2013.1.1 a-c Gift of Brian Skipper


col_badgeThis vibrant red blazer was worn by North Vancouver Olympic athlete, Bill Parnell, at the 1950 British Empire Games where he won a gold medal in the 1 mile race. Bill also competed in the 1948 and 1952 Summer Olympics.

– 2013.2.1 Gift of Joan Parnell

Salmon Figure

col_fishThis 7ft tall handmade wooden salmon figure was a fixture at the annual Burrard Dry Dock Salmon Derby. Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s prize winners posed triumphantly beside the great salmon with their winning catch.

– Burrard Dry Dock

Model Float Plane

col_planeBuilt in the mid 1930’s, this gas-powered model float plane was the first of its kind to take off and land in Burrard Inlet.

– 1988.50.4 Gift of Sydney Brown-John


col_blanketDesigned and made by Keith Nahanee in 2010, this blanket was inspired by an historic Salish blanket from the North Vancouver Museum’s Maisie Hurley Collection.

– 2010.16.1 Gift of the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives Society

Ice Axe

col_iceaxThis ice axe was carried on the first modern ascent of Mt. Garibaldi in 1907. It is inscribed, ‘J.J. Trorey, Mt. Garibaldi ‘07, Mt. Biddle ‘09, Mt. Baker ’10, Mt.Rogers ‘29’.

– 2011.10.1 Gift of Brian J. Wood


col_sewThis quilt is believed to have been made in the early 1920s as a fundraiser for the Lynn Valley United Church. Donors to the Church had their signatures stitched into the quilt.

– 2009.4.4 Gift of Rhelda Nicholson

Collections Review Project

The Museum recently completed a comprehensive, multi-year survey of every artifact in its collection. Objects were reviewed for relevance and quality, to ensure that everything has significance for North Vancouver. Here is a link to Frequently Asked Questions about the project.

The entire Museum collection of over 20,000 artifacts was inventoried. NVMA staff members then made difficult decisions about what to keep and what was no longer needed. As a result, the collection of artifacts has been selectively reduced according to criteria in the Collections Policy. Some 4,600 objects were recommended by the Director and the NVMA Commission for deaccessioning. Councils of the City and the District of North Vancouver subsequently approved the deaccessioning recommendations.

Those approvals were made on the following dates. For deaccession lists or the Reports to Council that accompany the lists, please consult Council meeting agendas on the City and District websites ( and for the dates below. Questions about the Collections Review Project initiative may also be sent by e-mail to

District of North Vancouver

January 21, 2013 – Approval for Expedited Deaccessioning and Collection Clean-up Progress Report
February 2, 2015 – Revised Collections Policy and Recommended Museum Deaccessions
March 30, 2015 – Recommended Museum Deaccessions #3
April 27, 2015 – Recommended Museum Deaccessions #4

City of North Vancouver

January 14, 2013 – Approval for Expedited Deaccessioning and Collection Clean-up Progress Report
October 6, 2014 – Revised Collections Policy and Recommended Museum Deaccessions
February 23, 2015 – Recommended Museum Deaccessions #3
March 30, 2015 – Recommended Museum Deaccessions #4
April 27, 2015 – Recommended Museum Deaccessions #5

Related Articles

North Shore News: “498 artifacts fly as museum clears clutter”
North Shore News Article “Museum pieces”
North Shore Outlook Article “Behind the Scenes at the North Vancouver Museum”
North Shore Outlook Article “Take History into the Future”
North Shore News Article “North Vancouver Says Bon Voyage to Maritime Relic”