The 2018-19 Pemberton Visitors Guide is now available online

Pemberton: Where History Lives

Photo by Dave Steers

Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011

Pemberton's a place with a history worth finding out about. Like many towns in British Columbia, Pemberton was established in the 1820s in part because the Hudson Bay Company was looking for a safe fur-trading route that would avoid the treacherous Fraser River canyons.

Good Dirt, Big Trees & Gold

Settlers, inspired by the valley's rich soil and abundant timber, followed suit. An important stop on the Harrison-Lillooet Gold Rush trail, the town saw more than 30,000 fortune seekers pass through annually between1858 and 1865.

That early history - and all that led up to Highway 99 opening the landlocked community in the late 1960s - has been preserved at the Pemberton Heritage Museum.

Pemberton Heritage Museum Highlights

Pemberton Museum

Opened in 1982, the museum's collection of pioneer and First Nations artifacts dates back to 1850s. Developed to resemble a mid-19th century West Coast pioneer town, the museum grounds include three original hand-hewn, dove-tail construction log buildings including one which is set up as a 19th century school house. There's also a trapper's cabin kids can try on for size, a shed full of antique farming and food processing equipment as well as displays of household and commercial goods.

Pemberton Heritage Museum Details

  • Open June to September
  • Admission by donation
  • The museum processes archival requests year round.
  • Picnic tables and washroom facilities available onsite
  • Visit them online:

Lil'wat Cultural Centre

Lilwat HutThe Lil'wat Cultural Centre (not to be confused with the Squamish-Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler) opened its doors in 2005 at Xit'olacw School on the Mt. Currie new site. The activities of the centre focus on a project to preserve the Lil'wat people's traditional language: Ucwalmicwts, with an immersion tract available at the school.

Having called the region home since time immemorial, the Lil'wat people are an vital part of the history of the Pemberton Valley.

Along with this commitment to language, the cultural centre offers programs to ensure that crafts such as basket weaving, drum making and beading continue to be practiced.

Lil'wat Cultural Centre Exhibits

The centre's exhibits showcase the works of 21st century Lil'wat artisans alongside pieces dating back to the 19th century. The collection includes everything from photos and household objects to full-size canoes.

The Lil'wat Cultural Centre is located 15 minutes from Pemberton.

Lil'wat Cultural Centre Details

  • Open Monday through Friday
  • Admission by donation
  • Visit them online: