The Cochrane Historical Museum has been closed during the pandemic, but the Cochrane Historical Archival Preservation Society (CHAPS) has found a way to share a piece of the museum with residents.

The museum has teamed up with the Cochrane Public Library to present a pop-up museum display. Lynne Ferguson with CHAPS says, “The Cochrane Historical Museum has been closed during COVID and we thought it would be really cool to let our public see some of our exhibits during this period of time. It’s Heritage Month for Canada this month and so, we had a diorama made by Diane and David Hardiman of the grain elevator and the original train station in Cochrane and we asked the library if they would be willing to display it for us.”

Fortunately, the Cochrane Public Library was happy to provide the space for the display and it will be available for the public to see over the next several weeks. Ferguson describes the unique display as, “A miniature perfect scale, we did a lot of research to make sure we had it in the right place. The station was on the north side of the tracks and had living quarters and it’s where Home Hardware is now located. The grain elevator was put in a little farther west on the south side of the road.”

The water tank that was used for the steam trains is also in the diorama and Ferguson says that the tank was sold to Mount Saint Francis for collecting water at the retreat. Next to the diorama, there is a poster board with pictures so you can see the original buildings.

With talk of a passenger rail line returning to Cochrane, some may feel it is unfortunate that the original train station no longer exists. Ferguson says that it was moved to where the old IGA building now is until it was demolished in 1968.

As for the grain elevator, it burned down in 1981 and there are pictures of the blaze on display.

Even though the museum has been closed for a couple of years, that does not mean that members of CHAPS have been sitting idle. They have obtained an original freight and luggage cart from the Cochrane train station. Over 100 hours of work has gone into painstakingly restoring it and the museum hopes to have it ready for the spring to be displayed in front of the museum.

Ferguson is pleased to report that the Cochrane Historical Museum is preparing to open in the spring after the long closure. Typically, the season runs from June 1 to September. CHAPS will soon be advertising for a part-time museum assistant to work for the upcoming season.

If you cannot wait until June to see what is inside the Cochrane Historical Museum, you can always take a virtual tour by clicking HERE or pop down to the library for a taste of what you can look forward to seeing in the spring.