Archival Collections

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The Peterborough Museum and Archives holds more than 2,000 different collections. We collect a variety of original documentary materials, which include information of historical value to our community. Aids are available to help you access information, which includes:

  • Personal letters, correspondence, journals and diaries of individualsmuseum stacks
  • Maps, civil plans, records, and surveys
  • Photographs and albums
  • Early business records and notable Peterborough companies
  • Early catalogues and promotional material
  • Clubs and associations' records and minute books
  • Early Peterborough Examiner newspapers
  • Records of Peterborough County Court, 1830 to 1900
  • Original fine art

Planning your visit

You must book an appointment to visit the Archives. Please contact our Archivist to book an appointment. Our new archives reading room provides a quiet place to conduct your research.

Same-day appointments typically cannot be accommodated. Let us know in advance what you are researching so we can provide resources remotely, where possible, and otherwise prepare resources for your arrival.

When possible, we ask that only 1 person visit the Archives at a time (maximum of 2 persons from the same household / bubble).

All "touched" collection items will enter a mandatory 72 hour quarantine before subsequent access/handling, including anything that might be handled or copied by our Archivist. We advise bringing your own recording device (cell phone, camera, laptop, tablet, etc.) for personal copying. Archivist copying (photocopier, scans, etc.) can still be provided - after the quarantine period has elapsed. 

Nationally designated collections

We are a designated by the Department of Canadian Heritage as a 'Category A Collecting Institution' under the terms of the Canadian Cultural Property Export/Import Act. The following artifacts within our collection carry this designation.

Frederick Lewis Roy's diaries

Proprietor of the Roy Studio and photographer, Frederick Roy kept diaries documenting his work-related activities from 1904 through 1950. His 44 hand-written volumes were generously donated to the Peterborough Museum and Archives in 2007. The diaries provide context to the Balsillie Collection of Roy Studio Images. 

Parks Studio Fonds

The Parks Studio Fonds operated as a commercial photographic studio in Peterborough from the 1930s to the 1980s. In 1998, the Peterborough Museum and Archives acquired 70,000 negatives and prints documenting life in Peterborough during this time. The Parks Studio Fonds was designated as Canadian cultural property of outstanding significance and national importance in 1999.

Catharine Parr Traill herbarium

Peterborough area settler, author and amateur botanist Catharine Parr Traill created this herbarium in 1891. The album consists of mounted ferns, grasses, moss and flower specimens. It is extraordinarily rare to find an intact Traill album of this size (51 pages). The herbarium was designated as Canadian Cultural Property of outstanding significance and national importance in 1999.

Little Lake Cemetery web mapping application

The Little Lake Cemetery mapping project tells the story of Little Lake Cemetery and some of Peterborough's early residents. It provides a genealogical tool for residents interested in researching individuals buried in Little Lake Cemetery and a StoryMap that narrates the history of the cemetery.

Peterborough City and County directories

You can access the City and County directories online, or you can book an archival appointment to view the hard copies that are in the archives.

A digitalized local collection of City and County directories is available online. The collection is a rich resource for researching topics related to Peterborough's history and family genealogy with the oldest volume dating back to 1858.

Directory contributions made by: 

Please note that the following years are missing from our directory:Archival boxes

  • 1884
  • 1886
  • 1889
  • 1891
  • 1892
  • 1896
  • 1900
  • 1902
  • 1911
  • 1930

Donating to the archives

Donations to our archives are always welcome. You can help us build our collections. Contact our Archivist today to find out how you can donate.