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Lambton Archival Resources: Museums

How Museums Are Useful

Museums can have archival documents as part of their collections. These unique photos, letters, maps, ledgers, and documents supplement the objects in their collections.

These documents can be extremely useful when conducting genealogical or local history research.

Lambton County Museums

The Lambton County Museums department operates three facilities which all have archival documents in their collections. The Lambton County Archives has the largest archival collection, but the other two facilities also have records which can be helpful for researchers.

Lambton Heritage Museum

The Lambton Heritage Museum outside of Grand Bend celebrates the history of the communities that make up Lambton County. Archival documents and photographs in the collection help to tell local stories by providing context and information about many of the artifacts housed at the museum. Although the Museum has collected archival material from every part of Lambton County, it has particularly strong regional holdings from Grand Bend, the former Township of Bosanquet, Petrolia and Sarnia.

Notable resources include:

  • strong collection of business records linked to local merchants and industries. Featured industries include the Mueller Manufacturing Company, the John Goodison Thresher Company, Doherty Stove Works and Thom’s Implement Works.
  • records focusing on the agricultural history of Lambton County as well as local social history
  • an extensive postcard collection with wide Lambton County representation is also a highlight, and includes many unique snapshots of urban and rural life in Lambton at the turn of the 20th century

The museum welcomes researchers and is happy to assist on historical projects both through pre-arranged visits and remotely, by email and digital scans. Free public wireless internet access is available for researchers visiting in person with their own laptop. A tea room is also available for researchers to enjoy their own lunch or snacks. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact museum staff well in advance of a proposed visit to discuss their research and a daily appointment is required to access the collection. Access to the archival collection is provided free of charge, however modest fees are attached to digital and printed reproductions.

Oil Museum of Canada

The Oil Museum of Canada in Oil Springs preserves the site of the first commercial oil well in North America. Visitors from around the world come to learn the story of Canada’s Oil Pioneers and archival documents in their collection help to tell those stories. The Oil Museum of Canada has archival documents on:

  • early oil production in Oil Springs/Petrolia area (including photos, documents, Oil Well Supply catalogues, and Van Tyul & Fairbank day books)
  • history of Oil Springs (including photos and documents)
  • international oil drillers 1873-1940 (including master list of names, photos, and stories)

Other Local Museums

Moore Museum

The Moore Museum in Mooretown has a variety of archival and secondary source materials of interest to researchers.  Research and photograph files are indexed by family name, places in the former Moore Township, school sections, and other subjects.

Files contain such items as:

  • photographs
  • postcards
  • newsclippings
  • local histories
  • OGS cemetery records for Moore Township

Research requests are accepted by phone, mail, email or in person.  If visiting in person, researchers are requested to call ahead to ensure that staff is available to assist in locating information.

Sombra Museum

Staff at the Sombra Museum in Sombra are available to assist researchers in the Maude Dalgety Reference Room. Named after a woman who dedicated much of her time and care to the museum, the reference room contains files which can assist researchers investigating the former Sombra Township history.

File contain archival and secondary source documents such as:

  • local businesses
  • schools
  • churches
  • ships
  • events
  • local families