|"I wanted a farm as I remembered a farm to be in England. In the Old Country a big farm would make you landed gentry, land was associated with wealth. Here it meant toil. You became a serf to your own land."
— Eustace Smith
Built of Douglas Fir logs, the Museum's pioneer cabin is modelled after one built in the late 19th century near Bates Beach (south of Campbell River) by British settler James Curtis. Paintings by Curtis' brother George were used as the basis for details in the exhibit. The cabin's 12' by 14' interior replicates half the interior of Curtis' original cabin as shown in one of the paintings.
Immigrants seeking a new life in the wilds of British Columbia had to build with the materials at hand. Log shacks were chinked against the cold with thick moss and roofed with rough split shakes. They were inexpensive and quickly-made homes, a far cry from the dreams of many settlers whose vision of prosperity was based upon European land use. This replica log cabin illustrates the subsistence life of the early backwoods gentlemen of northern Vancouver Island during the 1890's.
The cabin is used for school programs that teach children about the life of early settlers on the coast. Emphasis is on hands-on learning which gives children an understanding through personal involvement. More than 2,000 children participate in the Museum's education programs annually.