The Museum’s permanent collection started in 1958 when the Chilliwack Museum was first opened in a room in the local police station. The founders of the historical society had deep roots in the community. Brothers Oliver Wells and Casey Wells were the grandsons of A.C. Wells who settled on a farm in Sardis in 1865. As amateur historians and anthropologists, they left us with our foundation collection, biographies of early settlers, interviews with Sto:lo elders, oral histories from a wide variety of people and much more.
Their influence was profound and helped propel the museum and archives on a course that continues today. The holdings of the museum and archives have expanded greatly since those early days but the spirit of the Wells brothers still guides the staff in daily decision-making.
Since 1958, the Museum has moved several times. The current configuration has the Museum housed in the City’s former City Hall building while the object storage and Chilliwack Archives are housed in a municipally-owned structure three blocks from the museum. The Museum and Archives are governed by the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society. The Board of Directors are elected at a yearly annual general meeting. A member of the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society is eligible for election to the Board after 90 days of membership in good standing.
The Chilliwack Museum & Archives is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Ts’elxwéyeqw and Pelólhxw communities of the Stó:lō. We are thankful for the opportunity to live and learn on this territory.