South Similkameen Museum Society

The South Similkameen Museum Society is dedicated to gathering and preserving artifacts and historical reference material pertaining to the Lower Similklameen Valley (Hedley, Cawston, Keremeos, Olalla and the First Nation Reserves of the Upper and Lower Similkameen Bands). The documentation and photographs depicting First Nations and Early White Settlement in the Lower Similkameen, as well as documents and photographs of later periods deemed to have potential historical value, are housed and displayed in a small Heritage building on 6th Avenue, in Keremeos. One hundred years ago the building was moved by horse and man power from Upper Keremeos near Bear's Fruit Stand to become the local jail and lock-up under the auspices of the B.C. Provincial Police, and thereafter the R.C.M.P. The South Similkameen Museum Society was formed in 1973 and took possession of the building that year. Through good fortune and generosity the opportunity to purchase the Masonic Hall in Keremeos has made it possible to greatly expand our public viewing and storage area and to consider more creative ways to define the Museum. The original Heritage Building is to be moved to the new premises and form a vital part of the Museum's collection. Enthusiasm is high among the members of the Museum Society to furnish the Hall with display cases, drawers, photos, moveable display screens and proper lighting, and they foresee the opportunity to make the Museum Building an even more vital part of the Communities of the South Similkameen.

South Similkameen Museum SocietyOur Impact Why We Exist

The service which a Museum provides to a community lies in their role of preserving the past and lending a feeling of continuity to  both pioneers and new residents.  This particular Museum has worked hard to maintain and care for both the building and their collection, and they reach out to families, urging them to preserve their own personal history,  to file it with the Museum in our Family History Section and to contribute this knowledge to those seeking to research the history of the area.  

Our Heritage Wagon used in Santa and Rodeo Parades.Our Story What We Do

Despite the size of their facility the Museum members and staff have crfeated an excellent record of the area.

With this new opportunity and new and enlarged premises we envision the addition of Work Shops, School Tours and Story Times, Art Exhibits, Lectures and Talks on valley history, expansion of our Sunday Afternoon Pioneer Teas, and a running video with pictures depicting the history of the Lower Similkameen.  

Entertaining the ladies in an old fashioned mannerOur Programs How We Do It

The Museum has been confined by size to holding activities within the actual building, but we have taken advantage of various localities within the community to host special events, most notably in the elegant pioneer home of the Gibson family, Riverside Lodge.  Despite this the members and staff have created an excellent record of the area.

Staffed by Canada Summer Job Students during the summer months the Museum is open daily to valley residents and tourists, and by appointment at other times of the year.  With larger facilities the members plan to open on a more generous time schedule, and to provide more educational and historical activities.

What You Can Do

What can YOU do to make your local Museum a vital part of the Community.  Become a member!  Immerse yourself in the history of the valley.  Visit often.  Support Museum activities.  Contribute your own family history to enlarge the big, wonderful picture of this southern end of the Similkameen Valley.

The South Similkameen Museum Society have appreciated the generous support of the Village of Keremeos, both financially and with active interest.  The R.D.O.S. have also contributed to our need for funds to maintain the Museum. We expect increased donations will assist in the expenses this move and expansion will entail, and look for further Grant Funding to assist us in meeting our expectations.


John Armstrong