About Us

The Museum

The Crowsnest Historical Society was formed in 1973 by a group of concerned citizens who recognized the need to preserve the unique cultural history of the Crowsnest Pass which was quickly disappearing. Over the next decade those dedicated volunteers banded together to start the Museum, publish the

local history and help educate the community and visitors about the Pass. The Museum was officially opened in 1985 and has served the community ever since.

The Crowsnest Museum main facility is located in the building of the old Coleman High School.


The Crowsnest Historical Society and Crowsnest Museum & Archives will be a leader in and catalyst for the preservation, protection, and portrayal of the cultural heritage of Crowsnest Pass.  



  • Collaboration and partnership  

  • Good communications  

  • Professional and ethical conservation practices 

  • Responsibility and accessibility to our community 

  • Fiscal responsibility and sustainability  

  • Learning experience & growth  

  • Collaborative leadership  

  • Preserving our heritage  


Through its collection, the Crowsnest Historical Society and Crowsnest Museum & Archives protects, preserves, and portrays the cultural heritage of Crowsnest Pass and its people to ensure the knowledge of the past enriches the lives of present and future generations.  

Recognized Museum Designation 

The Crowsnest Museum & Archives is a Recognized Museum under the Alberta Museums Association. A Recognized Museum is an institution that has demonstrated its commitment to public trust and service by applying to, and attaining accreditation from, the Recognized Museum Program. The AMA designates Recognized Museums so that museum visitors and supporters can find, enjoy, and contribute to institutions where the visitor is the top priority. The Museum holds its Recognized Museum status in the highest regard, and strives to apply the best practices and methods everything we do. 


Our Governance 

2021 Board of Directors: 

  • Pat Rypien (President) 

  • Dawn Rigby (Vice President) 

  • Rudy Pagnucco

  • Isabel Russell 

  • Lori Prentice 

  • Gail Williams 

  • Jan Fabro 

  • Fred Bradley 

  • Myriah Sagrafena

Crowsnest Historical Society Board with Honorary Member Recipients (absent Isabel Russell, Myriah Sagrafena)

Our Staff

Chris Matthews 

Executive Director


Chris (pictured on left) joined the Museum in 2011 returning to his home province after a stint on the east coast. Since coming to the Museum Chris has taken on the major task of being the Museum’s administrator along with focusing on exhibit creation, event coordination and fundraising. Highlighting some of his recent work is the Hillcrest Mine Disaster Centennial and the Alberta Provincial Police Barracks Project. 


Chris holds an Honours BA and MA degrees in History at Dalhousie University, Halifax Nova Scotia.  He has also completed the Alberta Museums Association’s Certificate in Museum Studies. 

Michelle Cavanagh

Collection Manager  


Michelle is the longest tenured staff at the Museum. Her 16 years of experience in the collection have made her a walking encyclopedia of Crowsnest Pass history. Most of the research done at the Museum starts with talking to Michelle. She is literally the keeper of history.