Cowichan Historical Society

How We Got Started

The first Cowichan Historical Society ~

The first Cowichan Historical Society was established in 1927 and included members of pioneer families of the Cowichan Valley.  Its mandate was to focus on preservation and education of matters of historical importance to the Valley.  Several papers were produced by this group, including ‘The Potlatch’, ‘Early Political History’, and ‘Sixty Years of Progress in the Cowichan Valley’.  There were many successes, such as efforts to preserve the Stone Church on Tzouhalem Road.  The Society was also active in trying to get several sites recognized as being of historical significance by lobbying to the British Columbia Historic Sites and Monuments Board.  This first Society, however, was dissolved in 1935, leaving many Valley residents concerned about preserving the area’s history.

Current Society and mandate ~

The second and current Cowichan Historical Society was incorporated on May 31, 1974.  The Society’s mandate is to gather and preserve information and records connected with the history of the Cowichan area and to maintain a museum and archives to preserve objects and records of historic interest and value.

Establishing a Museum ~

After several years in temporary quarters, the Cowichan Valley Museum opened in the Duncan Train Station on June 23, 1989.  

In April 2007, the Archives was moved to a new home on the third floor of Duncan City Hall.  The Museum continues to be housed in the Station. 

The Museum, Archives and Society could not operate without the support of approximately 50 volunteers who bring their skills and enthusiasm to all the work they do.

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What the Museum offers ~

Quality temporary exhibits are on view throughout the year, and we mount a major exhibit for the summer season.  School and public programming, special events, and workshops play a vital role in the community by promoting history and heritage.  

The Archives ~

The Archives has become a indispensable source of information for researchers, residents, tourists and students. 

Speakers ~

The Society sponsors interesting speakers, both local and from around Vancouver Island, at its monthly Society meetings.  Please call ahead to check for location of meeting.

The photograph on the top of this page depicts members of the original CHS gathered at the Pioneer Cemetery on Herd Road in July, 1932.  L-R Frank Price, Kate Robertson, Mary Dwyer, John Evans, Agnes Duncan, Kenneth Duncan and Dorothy Duncan (daughter of Agnes and Kenneth)

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Benefits of Membership:

  • Support the preservation of history in the Cowichan Valley
  • Invitations to special events and programs
  • The revenue from membership fees assists with the operation of the Museum, including educational and public programming, special events, exhibit development, and care of collections
  • Free admission to the Museum year round
  • 10% off all purchases in the Museum Gift Shop
  • Monthly Society Meetings host interesting speakers
  • Quarterly Newsletters
  • Special photocopy rates for members
  • The revenue from membership fees assists with the operation of the Museum, including educational and public programming, special events, exhibit development, and care of collections

Membership fees
Individual ~ $20.00
Corporate Memberships Available- please inquire at the Museum

For an additional $20.00 per year, members can receive the magazine BC Historical News British Columbia History. Please add $10.00 for international orders.

You can sign up right now by filling out the form below with the requested information or download, print and fill out the pdf membership application and mail it to us.  You will be contacted to verify your membership request.

Thank you for supporting the Cowichan Historical Society.


Cowichan Historical Society
Membership Application

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Tel/Fax 250-746-6612 or mail to:

Cowichan Historical Society
P.O. Box 1014
Duncan, BC  V9L 3Y2

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