In 1969, an historical group composed of five citizens led by Ethel Ogle, a former member of council (1958-60) and mayor (1961-66) of the Town of Mission City, commenced meetings on a regular basis “to plan for a museum should the opportunity arrive.”
Members began to collect items of historical value to the community and store them at Ogle’s home.
During the centennial in 1971, the historical group successfully recruited new members and secured the 1907 former Bank of Commerce building for a community museum.
On March 22, 1972 the Mission District Historical Society was incorporated under the Society Act of BC and elected Ogle as president; Dorothy Crosby secretary; Carmella Clark treasurer; and George Jones, Amos Gibbard, Betty Weir, Guy Symonds, and Marion Sharpe as directors.
The society raised funds to refurbish the building and develop displays from items previously collected, including the Anthony Taulbut Collection formerly managed by the Mission University Women’s Club in cooperation with the Mission Board of Trade.
On June 24, 1972, the Mission Museum was officially opened.
With the introduction of knowledge on standards for handling archives in the mid-1980s, the board established an advisory committee to develop guidelines for the management of archival materials.
A separate administrative structure was established and a storage room was constructed on the second floor of the museum for the archives.
On Feb. 25, 1989, Mayor Sophie Weremchuk cut the ribbon to officially open the Mission Community Archives, marking its transition to a distinct branch operation of the society.
In 1994, the archives moved into its present location – a custom-designed 3,000 sq. ft. state-of the-art facility, which was built by the District of Mission. The facility provides a secure, environmentally controlled space with a storage capacity in excess of 4,000 linear feet and optimal space to support all the operations of the archives.
At the annual general meeting of the society on March 30, 1994, the membership decided to further expand operations by establishing a third branch called Heritage Places, which would be responsible for facilitating the preservation and protection of buildings, special places and the natural environment with heritage value to the community.
Marking its 45th anniversary this year, the society has continuously worked to connect people to their history, bring the past to life, and highlight the community’s unique heritage for people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
The society endeavours to preserve and make accessible Mission’s collective memory – the documents, objects, sites and structures that reflect all aspects of the diverse community.