Even though our museum is small, it’s filled with stories from our community and individuals. Visitors often say they wish they had more time and plan to return. Sometimes, it’s nice to have an insider’s guide to understand the heritage and history of Malcolm Island. If you’re just stopping by between ferry rides or staying for a few days, check out these five must-see exhibits at the Sointula Museum. They’ll help you get a good feel for the island’s history and culture.

1. Before the Finns

Embark on a captivating journey through time as the Before the Finns exhibition delves into the deep roots of Malcolm Island’s original inhabitants. Explore the enduring Indigenous presence manifested in clam middens, culturally modified trees, and petroglyphs. Learn more about this exhibition, by visiting its exhibition page.


2. Sointula’s Gill Net Rugs: Threads of Community

Discover the unique artistry of Sointula’s Gill Net Rugs in an exhibit that goes beyond their functional purpose. These rugs hold a special place in the community’s heart, each thread telling a story of craftsmanship, tradition, and the interconnectedness of Sointula residents. Learn more about this exhibition, by visiting its exhibition page.


3. Media Centre: A Cozy Haven of Stories

Take a well-deserved break at the Media Centre Exhibition. Sit back and choose from up to 10 videos, most under 10 minutes, featuring elder stories, local music, behind-the-scenes archiving projects, and the soulful tunes of Finland. This cozy spot invites you to relax and absorb the vibrant memories that shape Sointula’s unique identity.


4. Book Nook: Chronicles of Kalevan Kansa to Communal Living

Explore the intellectual and personal heart of Sointula with the Book Nook. Uncover first and second-hand accounts spanning the Kalevan Kansa and its utopian beginnings to the 1970s. These books, plays written in 1885, 1887, and 1924, personal recollections of the 1940s and 1950s, interviews of residents, photo albums with 100 years of memories, delve into the town’s politics, communal living, and the cooperative movement that forged its character. With works in both English and Finnish, this exhibit offers a literary journey through Sointula’s diverse history.


5. Fishing Exhibit (in the Rust Room!):

Discover the seafaring legacy of Sointula. Did you know the drum of a gill net boat was invented in Sointula? Explore fishing tools, captivating stories of maritime adventures, and the profound impact of the sea on shaping the community’s personal and commercial identity. This exhibition unveils the maritime history that has left an indelible mark on Sointula, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the town and the sea. If you’d like to see a restored gillnetter, check out our off-site exhibition featuring a 34-foot double-ended gillnetter named Sturgeon I. Learn more here.


Our exhibitions are possible because of our generous community. Thank you to everyone who has donated stories and belongings, so we can share our island’s history with our visitors. If you’re visiting during the shoulder season, just send us a message or give us a call. We are happy to open the museum for you!

If you’ve been to the museum, we’d love to hear about your visit and what you thought of these five exhibits. Or maybe you have your own recommendations for a future visitor? We’d love you to leave us a review on Google, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube!

upcoming events

There’s always something in the works at the Sointula Museum. Check out our Events calendar to stay in the loop!

Photo: Salmon Days, mid 1980s. In their regional Finnish costumes are, left to right, Annie (Anna) Tynjälä, Irma Järvinen, Helmi Pakkalen and Eeva Syrjälä. All arrived in Canada in the 1950s.