The Cranbrook Archives Museum and Foundation established the Cranbrook Railway Museum in 1976. The museum’s name was changed in 1993 to the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel and to the Cranbrook History Centre in 2015.
The Cranbrook History Centre celebrates the rich culture and heritage of the East Kootenay region. Situated in the original 1898 Cranbrook Freight Shed, museum displays include first nations histories, early settler artifacts and information about regional wildlife.
The Cranbrook Archives are housed on the second floor of the Cranbrook History Centre (they are not immediately accessible – an appointment must be made in advance in order to view the archives). The collection was begun in 1976 and presently houses over 45,000 artifacts. The mandate for the collection is to collect and preserve artifacts and archival records of permanent value to the history of Cranbrook and the Canadian Railways.
The largest exhibition at the Cranbrook History Centre is a collection of 28 railway cars of which 17 are currently available to the public.
These remarkable rail travel cars, comprise one of the largest collections in North America, and are in a continued state of restoration.
The Paleontology Exhibit houses a unique collection of fossilized flora and fauna from a region rich in fossils. The oldest trilobites on display are more than 450,000,000 years of age. The 10 different kinds of fish fossils are immaculate and complete. And there are ferns, corals and theropod dinosaur tracks from the Elk Valley.
Our model railway is nothing short of spectacular. With the press of a button, you can start the engines on a train that travels a length of 64 feet through a Kootenay mountain pass that extends to ceiling height.
Our gift shop features products made by local artisans and books written by regional authors.
Widely considered the most elegant public venue in southeastern British Columbia, the Royal Alexandra Hall seats over 200 people and features an adjacent catering kitchen. The hall is available to rent for business meeting, special events and wedding receptions.