Peterborough Museum and Canada 150

The year was 1967 and Centennial fever gripped the nation.  Canadians looked for ways to celebrate the past while they boldly prepared for the future.  Centennial projects were undertaken at all levels – from personal studies of family history to the larger scale construction of parks, monuments and museums. 

In the Peterborough area, three major projects marked the occasion – the construction of the Centennial Fountain which rises majestically over Little Lake in downtown Peterborough, the opening of Lang Century Village (now Lang Pioneer Village) in Keene, and the opening of the Peterborough Centennial Museum & Archives (PCMA).

Though the ‘Centennial’ has since been removed from its name, the PMA will forever be linked to our country’s birthday Canada150celebrations.  And this year, on Sunday July 2, the Museum will be offering tours of its new collections storage facility as part of a huge, city-wide, four-day Canada150 celebration.

Similar to nearly all Museums, the PMA can only display about 1% of its collection at any given time.  The other 99% is kept in storage.  This, of course, helps ensure that these precious objects can be preserved for many years to come. 

The original Museum building that opened in 1967 was supposed to accommodate about twenty years worth of collection growth.  But by 1969, it was already recognized that more space would be needed.  For nearly 50 years, the PMA’s collection continued to grow – carefully but steadily – and is now estimated to contain well over 40,000 objects.

When the Museum’s new storage facility was completed in 2015 and the objects that had been so densely packed in the mainPtboMuseum building were given proper storage space, the result was impressive.  Not only is the collection now contained all in one building, the objects are easily viewed at a glance.  Featuring textiles and toys, art and architecture, tools and technology, dishes and dressers, and everything in between, the PMA’s collection is a large time capsule of Peterborough’s past.  And what better year to step in a see what Peterborough’s past was all about than during Canada’s 150th birthday year?

On July 2, the PMA will also be opening its big summer exhibition, Made in Canada – Really! which features dozens of objects that were made in Canada – many of which were produced right here in Peterborough.

For more details on the exhibition, the behind-the-scenes tours, or any of the many other exciting events and activities happening in Peterborough throughout the Canada150 celebrations, follow @Ptbo150 on Facebook or visit

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