Museum announces International Woodworkers archive acquisition

IWA documents and photographs are now part of the Kaatza Museum Station displays.

A memorandum of agreement was signed with the United Steel Workers, who protected the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) documents and photographs since the amalgamation of IWA Canada and the USW. The archive arrived by truck at the Museum in Lake Cowichan last week.

The award winning Kaatza Station Museum is a natural fit for this incredibly important trade union archive.

The museum contains displays, photographs, murals and archives pertaining to logging, lumbering, railways, mining, as well as pioneer life.

The first organized logging operation in B.C. was Lake Logging in 1934 under the banner of the Lumber Workers Industrial Union, the precursor of the IWA. This developed connections between the Cowichan Lake area and the union dating back to those early days.

The IWA Archive is a massive collection of documents and photographs that includes international and Canada-wide forest trade union history with some materials dating back into the very early days of the past century.

Plans are underway to construct an addition onto one of the museum buildings to properly house the new IWA archive with permission already granted from the town council. Architectural plans have been donated from a private source and structural estimates donated from a builder. The museum board has immediate plans to secure funding for the construction of the addition through private donations and grants.

–submitted by Barbara Simkins, Curator