In 1955, a small group of dedicated historians came together with a goal to preserve the history of the area. This was the beginning of the Ottawa Valley Historical Society. For two years they met in the homes of the members. In 1957 the Ottawa Valley Historical Society obtained the 1838 Lowertown schoolhouse and approximately two acres of land. The schoolhouse had served continuously as a place of learning for over 100 years.
One year later, in 1958, the Society opened the Champlain Trail Museum, Pembroke's first museum, in the old schoolhouse. Through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Dean Rogers, a large log home was reconstructed on the museum property and opened as a furnished pioneer home in 1965. The museum's collection grew steadily through generous donations and outgrew the physical capacity of the schoohouse. In 1979, a new, much larger, museum building was opened.
In the mid 1980's, the school was re-opened as an exhibition schoolhouse, with a rebuilt tower accommodating an outside school bell. During the Summer of 1997, the museum acquired the Micksburg United Church which was generously donated by its congregation. Built in 1879, the church not only compliments the museum with its rich heritage but has become a vibrant part of the community, hosting church services, weddings and christenings. In 1999 the museum's collection of heritage buildings was enlarged by the addition of a restored blacksmith's shop.
In 2008, artist Karole Marois painted the mural, "The Pioneers of Pembroke Township 1820-1850" on the side of the Museum's main building. This added to Pembroke Heritage Murals large collection. This mural depicts the life of the first settlers in Pembroke Township. In 2008 the Museum also celebrated its 50th anniversary of preserving and presenting the history of Pembroke and area.
The Champlain Trail Museum and Pioneer Village continues to serve as a unique asset to our local community!