Featured Exhibits


Town of Bowden

The original village of Bowden was located to the southeast, near the turnoff to Olds along Highway 2. While there the village was known as “Lone Pine”. An important stop on the Calgary and Edmonton Stagecoach Trail, the village was home to the Brewster House Hotel. The village was moved when it was found the railway route would not pass through the original town site.







Edith Hudson's Centennial

Former beloved Bowden resident, Edith Hudson in 2011 celebrated her 100th birthday. Join us in commemorating her centennial. On display is Edith's elegant wedding gown she wore in 1932 when she married her husband Alfred Hudson. Also displayed is their wedding photo and a magnificent painted portrait of Edith's Grandmother Jenny Adams.







Bob Hoare Photography Studio 

Local man, Bob Hoare was quite the photographer. He earned a living taking pictures and also enjoyed photography as a hobby. This collection includes hundreds of his photos. Buildings and streets of Bowden and neighbouring communities have been frozen in time, as have family portraits, local farms, parades and picnics. Photos date from around 1900 to 1950, in one of the largest collections of historical Central Alberta photographs.

The display also includes a mock up of Bob Hoare's house which doubled as his photography studio and dark room. His antique camera equipment also on display.




Bowden Hardware Store

The shelves of the Bowden Hardware store are always stocked with household goods. A large assortment of typewriters, appliances, cookery and tools fill the isles. A large wooden cash register and computing scale dominate the counter. Behind is a collection of antique tools and tins.


A display of antique sports equipment and a large camera collection completes the store.




The Irene Wood Avon Collection

Over 6000 items make up this incredible collection. All of it collected by Irene Wood, and all of it is from Avon. Perfume, men's cologne, decorative items, dolls and jewellery fill shelves drawers and displays in what might just be the largest Avon collection in Western Canada.




The Music Room

This musical display is comprised of the instruments that entertained four generations. Centerpieces of this exhibit include a 1867 Square Grand a piano as old as Canada, a 1920 Gramophone Cabinet, and a 1900's Pump Organ.






The Schoolroom

Recreated here is a school room from Bowden's old Schoolhouse. The stately old two story brick building was built in 1907 and served Bowden for nearly fifty years. Unfortunately it burned down, but it can still be seen in photographs on display at the Museum.





The Millinery

Elegant dresses and fancy hats are on display in the cabinets and shelves of the millinery. Here you can take a look at the fashions of days gone by. Also displayed here is a cabinet of wrist watches and pocket watches and a collection of antique sewing machines.





The Chamber of Commerce

This collection tells the story of all of the businesses that once opened their doors to the town of Bowden. The display includes the type set some the town newspaper, a cabinet filled with tools from the barber shop and a unique slide projector from the volunteer fire department.





The Creamery

This display gathers together a few items from local dairy farms. Follow milk from the cow to your glass, as it would have traveled sixty years ago.







The Railway

The railway influenced Bowden's growth more than anything else. The town started as a stop-over on the trip from Calgary to Edmonton and many of the Town's settlers came by rail. The display includes grain elevators modeled after the ones that used to stand near Bowden's tracks, the telegraph equipment from the town's train station and a dining car serving set generously donated by Canadian Pacific.


In 1890 the Calgary and Edmonton Railway Company acquired the rights to build a line from Calgary to Edmonton. The C & E Railway arrived in Red Deer in November of 1890 and reached Strathcona, South of Edmonton across the North Saskatchewan River in July of 1891. With the railway complete travel time between Edmonton and Calgary was cut from four days by stagecoach to just twelve hours by train. It was from the C & E Railway Bowden got its name. Surveyors with the company stopped at the future site of Bowden where a siding would be located. While determining what to call the siding, one of the surveyors, Mr. Williamson from Winnipeg suggested ‘Call it my wife’s maiden name, “Bowden”’.


The first grain elevator in Bowden was the Alberta Pacific opening in 1906. By the end of the twenties there were seven elevators in Bowden along Railway Avenue. In 1952 a raging fire destoryed the Midland Pacific and United Grain Growers Elevators. The UGG was later rebuilt. The old Alberta Pacific Elevator burned down in 1973. The last elevators, the Pioneer and the UGG were both demolished in 1994.



The Ladies of Aspenland

Placards here commemorate and celebrate the lives of past Bowden residents. The ladies lived all their lives in the town of Bowden, and made it so much better with their presence. The display here is just part of their lasting legacy.






The Eastern Stars

A display here shows the history and tradition, the ceremony and the pageantry of the Eastern Stars of Alberta.







The Military Memorial

This collection of Military relics of the First and Second World Wars commemorates and honours the memory of the Men and Women who served and gave their lives for our country and freedom.


One should notice the large flag that hangs on the back wall of the Museum. It is a Canadian Red Ensign, the Canadian Flag prior to 1965. This particular Red Ensign was one of those flying at the Parlament Buildings in Ottawa on the 15th of Febuary, 1965 when the Maple Leaf was rased for the first time.


Royal Air Force Station Bowden No. 32, Elementary Flight Training School


During World War Two Pilots from around the British Commonwealth were sent to Canada to train under the Commonwealth Air Training Program. During the war over fifty thousand pilots were trained in Canada. Bowden played host to Elementary Flight Training School Bowden No. 32. Here pilots would be put at the controls of a plane for the first time. They would be taught basic flight, takeoff and landing. Many training aircraft were crashed in area farms. After the war the base briefly became a juvenile detention center before it was taken by Corrections Canada and became the penitentiary, Bowden Institution. At least one of the original airbase buildings survives, but not at the penitentiary. After the war one building was bought by the town of Bowden and moved. It still survives in the town as the Bowden Lions Hall.