Artifact Collections


Peterborough Museum and Archives staff are always on-site (during regular business hours) to help answer your questions, and provide general information about our collections. Explore the descriptions below for an overview of our collections. 

Artifact collections

Archaeological collections

The McGrath Collection contains 1,186 artifacts from across North America. The Brock Street Collection contains 33 indigenous burial goods. The museum is also the custodian of an intact clay pot dating to about 1350 Common Era.


A selection of Indigenous artifacts from across North America, including clothing, tools, weapons and ceremonial items.


An eclectic collection of 19th century furnishings, most notably, items originally belonging to Catharine Parr Traill and other members of the Strickland family.

Military collections

The military collection includes uniforms and memorabilia from the Northwest Rebellion, assorted uniforms from the Boer War, World War I, and World War II. In 2006, the military collection (approximately 8,000 artifacts) of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 52 was donated to the Peterborough Museum and Archives. 

Natural history

Within its collection of over one thousand mineral specimens and nearly 500 fossils, the Museum has specimens of national and international significance.


There is a large collection of tin and metal toys and dolls, some dating to the early 1700s, as well as a variety of early sporting equipment such as: ice skates, boxing gloves, sports jerseys and trophies.

Technological artifacts

Various tools and equipment are included within the collection, but there are several specialized collections of note, including: surgeons' kits from the War of 1812 and the American Civil War era, a complete leather-workers kits, and a comprehensive collection of alarm clocks from Westclox of Peterborough. There is also an extensive collection of 19th century woodworking tools and canoe and boat building tools used by Edmund Barrier – owner of Barrie Boat Works in Peterborough.


The Peterborough Museum and Archives has one of the finest collections of 19th century homespun in Ontario. There is also a comprehensive collection of women's wear, including approximately 400 dresses, 93 wedding dresses from the 19th and 20th centuries, and 33 christening gowns.


Included within this collection are canoes manufactured by the Strickland Company, the Peterborough Canoe Company, and Gordon, W.A. Payne and Stephenson Canoes. Also included are medals won by the William English Company at the Paris Exposition of 1878.

Donating artifacts

Donations to the Peterborough Museum and Archives are always welcome. You can help us build our collections. Contact our Curator today with information about your object or artifact donations.