Fort William Historical Park possesses one of the worlds renowned collections of material and intellectual property pertaining to the development of Canada and the fur trade era (circa 1815). Fort William Historical Park's historic and library collections have become key research hubs that facilitate the understanding and appreciation of North America's heritage for researchers, students, film production companies, educational and cultural institutions, and the general public. The Fort's Historic Collection of approximately 15,000 objects encompasses the material culture of the Fort.
This unique collection includes functional pieces such as glassware, furniture, tools, and utensils as well as some ornate and truly unusual works. Original objects from the early nineteenth century represent approximately half of our collection while the other half consists of reproduction objects.
Many of our reproductions have been created by artisans at the Fort such as our blacksmith, cooper, armourer, tinsmith, and carpenter. Some of the highlights of our collection include birch bark canoes, a team of draft horses, a reproduction portraiture collection, a fully operational period fire engine, and our electrifying machine. Our Historic Collection is enriched by the vast array of material related to Fort William and the early nineteenth-century British North American fur trade held in our Jean Morrison Canadian Fur Trade Library.
The library has approximately 5,000 books and 60 periodicals as well as microfilm, numerous vertical files, historic maps, theses, staff compilations, and a substantial collection of archival documents.