The museum is organized to be “walk through the ages”. There are exhibits portraying the life of a rancher, the war years, the N.W.M.P., the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and the Eastern Irrigation District.
C.P Rail Caboose The caboose was acquired in the summer of 1995. With efforts of Hi-Boy Oilfield and Jo-Ann Trucking, the 57,000 lb caboose made it to the museum safe and sound. The C.P.R. line had passed through Brooks as early as 1883, when Brooks was a little cow town. The C.P.R. was responsible for installing the first irrigation systems in the area. They are also primarily responsible for populating the area which is now Brooks and district.
The Duchess C.P.R. Station This station served the village of Duchess from 1920 until 1965. The living quarter had been added on in 1943. It was moved to the present site at the museum in 1984 and underwent extensive repair and restoration. The building houses artifacts pertaining to the railway industry.
N.W.M.P. Parvella Detachment The log cabin was an outpost for the Northwest Mounted Police. It was built in 1912 on the V-V Ranch at the mouth of the Blood Indian Creek. The post was in operation until 1916 and was moved to its present site in 1978. The outpost from Parvella was donated to the museum by the Pincher Creek Cattle Ranchers Association. The cabins were built 25 miles from a settlement because this was the distance it was felt a Mounties horse could travel in one day.
The Albert’s House The Albert’s house was moved to its present location on the grounds of Brooks and District Museum on September 14, 1977. The house was donated to the museum by Ed Albert’s family of Brooks. The house was built in 1910, when the Canadian Pacific Railway was planning and surveying for the Eastern Irrigation District. It was used as an office building for the engineers working on the project.
Wardlow School House Originally Kitchener School, this building was built in 1911 on George Kisner land east of Berry Creek. It was moved to Wardlow where it was in operation from 1930 to 1940, and after being closed for several years it was again in use from 1955 to 1961. It also served as a community hall for a few years. The school building was moved to the museum in 1978.
Original Volunteer Fire Truck This 1941 Ford fire engine was the primary truck that Brooks had between 1949 and 1958 when a second truck was acquired. It was actively used until the early 1960s and then served as a back-up until it was retired in 1988. Brooks purchased this truck from the Suffield Army Base where it was used as an aircraft rescue and fire vehicle during WWII Commonwealth air training. The vehicle’s top speed was 30 miles per hour. An old joke around the fire station was that a guy could roll a cigarette while driving at top speed.
1903 National #3 Cable Tool Rig This rig was purchased new by the Ohio Oil Company and shipped by train from Chicago to Montana and assembled in 1923. The rig worked in northern Montana until the early 1950s when it was replaced by faster rotary equipment. It sat idle for years and was eventually bought at an auction in 1989. It was moved to Brooks and set up at the museum in 1998. The rig when operating was capable of drilling and handling casing to about 2500 feet of depth though most wells where it worked were shallower than that. The rig would drill about 100 feet per day where as today’s rotary rigs drill 100-300 feet per hour.
Dentist’s Office Located in the main building of the museum, the dentist chair was manufactured in New York in the late 1940s. It was used by Dr. C.T.McCune, a local dentist from 1950 until he retired in 1988. His dental equipment is also on display with other medical artifacts such as optometry equipment and the belongings of a country doctor from Wardlow, Alberta, Dr. W.G. Anderson.
Steveville General Store Browse through the local store exhibit from the early part of the century, which is located in the main building of the museum. Based on the Steveville General Store of 1910, the store houses a collection of goods that may have been found while shopping in the early 1900s including post office boxes, a cash register, and various groceries. Steveville was named after Steve Hall who homesteaded in the area. He and his wife, Edith, ran the ferry, the first post office and store as well as the boarding house there.
Spinning Wheel and Weaving Loom The spinning wheel and weaving loom are on display in the handicrafts exhibit in the main building of the museum. The spinning wheel was donated in 1985 by Don and Mary Ann MacIntyre. It was built by hand around the beginning of the 20th century. The weaving loom was donated by Helen Hargrave and was originally from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. It was purchased by Mrs. Hargrave when the University changed to a different type of loom in the mid-1950s.
The Village Blacksmith
Dinosaur A duck billed dinosaur that lived in the swamps of the area 70 million years ago in the badlands swamps of the upper cretaceous period and was a good swimmer as its feet were webbed like a duck. The dinosaur was 38 feet long.