In 2014, the Lake Country Museum celebrates twenty-nine years as a community museum and archives. The Museum, located at the shore of Lake Okanagan, houses artefacts, archival photographs, and collections from the District of Lake Country’s earliest days. The main building of the museum is a historic two-room schoolhouse, where students were taught from 1932 to the mid-1980s. The museum also includes the Annex, an outdoor exhibit area, and the Wentworth Cabin, built by Cyril and Joseph Wentworth in 1906 and relocated to the museum grounds in 1998.
Through its exhibits and archives, the Museum tells the story of the District of Lake Country and its four wards of Winfield, Oyama, Carr’s Landing, and Okanagan Centre. The Museum’s artefacts include the histories of the orchard, wine, and ranching industries, turn of the century living, and collections from the early Japanese community. The outdoor exhibits include an antique pleasure boat, farm wagons, ploughs, and the 1906 Wentworth Cabin. The Archives currently house over 2000 photographs, a large collection of manuscripts, ledgers, maps, library, and a full collection of the Lake Country Calendar. The Museum’s collection of over 4000 artefacts are either on display or in storage and rotated on exhibit. The majority of items in the collection have been donated by local residents.
The Lake Country Museum and Archives are open year round. Admission is by donation.
The Lake Country Museum and Archives are open year round, admission by donation. The Museum and Archives are open seven days a week from mid-May through Labour Day weekend. Winter hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday afternoons, and by appointment.
The Ok Patio Cafe at the Lake Country Museum is open seven days a week from mid-May through Labour Day weekend. Visit the restaurant's website at www.okpatiocafe.com.
Lake Country Museum History
The Okanagan Centre Elementary School was built in 1932, replacing the first school of 1911, and a second classroom was added as the community grew. The school population fluctuated over the years as other areas of the District of Lake Country developed, and the school closed permanently in 1984. As a school district trustee, Helen Gatzke knew about the closure. She, along with other members of the local Ratepayers Association, thought that the school property should be kept intact and used for the benefit of the community. On June 18, 1984 the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society was formed, with Helen Gatzke elected as the first president, Ron Carter the treasurer, and Jane Arnold the secretary.
In June 1985, School District #23 advertised for bids to purchase the property. The Central Okanagan Regional District was prepared to bid $1000 for it, and over 500 members of the community signed a petition expressing support for the CORD bid. In September, CORD agreed to grant the Heritage Society a long term lease and to maintain the grounds if the School District would turn over the property to them. At a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees, the members voted unanimously to turn over the building and property to the Regional District for the sum of one dollar. It has housed the museum ever since.
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Every year, thousands of visitors enjoy the Okanagan Heritage Museum’s unique regional collections and exhibitions.