The Museum’s Story

Photo: Entrance to the Malcolm Island Superior School. Today, the building houses the Sointula Museum, Sointula Library, Dance Studio, and Thrift Store. Sointula Museum Collection, photo #247.

A rich history

The Sointula Museum has been a cherished repository of the island’s rich history for over five decades. Its enduring success can be attributed to the unwavering dedication of volunteers who preserve and curate the island’s heritage.

According to local lore, a group of women in the community recognized the importance of safeguarding the island’s history. They began collecting historical items, generously passed on by family, friends, and neighbours. This grassroots initiative laid the foundation for the Sointula Museum.

The Sointula Museum’s mandate is to research, collect, conserve, interpret and exhibit the tangible and intangible heritage of Malcolm Island (T’lat’lask̓udis, Malkosaari). The museum is open to the public, accessible and inclusive. We value sustainability and diversity and offer experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing for all ages.

The Museum Grows

Through the years, the museum evolved into the thriving non-profit entity known as the Sointula Museum and Historical Society. At its helm are seven community members who serve as trustees, including a President and Treasurer, overseeing its operations.

In 2018, the organization achieved a significant milestone by officially becoming a non-profit entity. This transition paved the way for sustainable growth and development. The current dedicated team includes an amazing group of social media, exhibit, and archive volunteers, museum hosts, Finnish-English translators, a part-time manager and a part-time community engagement and development coordinator. Two full-time visitor services staff (grant funded) enhance the visitor experience during the summer months.

Celebrating Half a Century

In 2023, the Sointula Museum celebrated its 51st year, marking a half-century of preserving the island’s history. This remarkable achievement was made possible through the support of various organizations, particularly the Sointula Recreation Association. The Sointula Museum and Historical Society extends its gratitude to the ICET, the Regional District of Mount Waddington, BC Arts Council, the Province of BC, Heritage BC, and the Government of Canada for their invaluable financial support, which has been instrumental in ensuring the museum’s continued operation and growth.

Terrific museum. Admission is by donation. I enjoy the way it captures the fabric of everyday life at the time including the social activities and old newspapers. While the collective dream was short-lived, those that stayed created a resilient, vibrant community. In addition, as someone with Finnish heritage, it brings back memories of growing up in a place filled with Finnish immigrants. Always a pleasure to visit.
Shawn Gervais, Google Review

plan your visit

Every journey to Sointula begins and ends with a boat trip – it’s part of the adventure!