Collections and Research

Archives

The O'Keefe Ranch is home to some 1,500 textual documents relating to the O'Keefe Family, including documents relating to early operations of the Ranch, the General Store and the Post Office. The archives also contain documents relating to the Greenhow and Schubert families; BC school examination papers dating from the early 20th century; and papers relating to general BC ranching history.

The archives contains more than 1200 photographic objects, and a further 1200 copy prints.

We are in the process of making our archives more accessible to the public. Specific finding aids will be made available in the coming months. In the meantime, our collections are available to the public for research. If you would like to visit in person, please make an appointment with our Curator by emailing [email protected]

If you are unable to visit the Ranch in person, our staff and volunteers will be happy to undergo the research for you and send you any relevant documents in our collection. The first half hour of research is free, after that there is an hourly charge. Please ask about our Fee Schedule for research and reproduction costs.

Artifacts 

The Ranch has more than 7000 artifacts that belonged to the O'Keefe family or have been donated by local residents. 
Some collection highlights include:

  • A 114-piece Meissen porcelain set, made around 1860
  • A painting by William Brymner
  • Elizabeth O’Keefe’s silverware, given to her by Cornelius on the birth of their first daughter, Margaret Mary 
  • A 1905 music box in the O’Keefe Mansion
  • Textiles, consisting of O’Keefe family clothes such as the women’s summer white dresses, and men’s formal suits. There is also a late 1800s Royal Battenburg lace wedding dress, and beaded flapper dresses from the 1920s
  • Firearms, including a First World War Ross Rifle 
  • Wood and coal burning stoves. Stoves range from a ca. 1790 six-plate stove, to a collection of Canada West (pre-Confederation) stoves and heaters unequalled in Canada, to a one-of-a-kind tile-backed cooking range made by Davignon Company of Quebec for the St. Louis World Fair in 1904. There is also a collection of miniature salesman’s sample stoves from the early 1900s

Library

The library is a relatively small collection of books, mostly relating to the ranching culture in western North America. However, the collection also includes Victorian style, decor, and etiquette; traditional crafts; the history of the education system in BC; general BC history; and local history of Vernon and the surrounding Okanagan region.

The library also has a small collection of Special Collection books which include books owned by the O’Keefe, Greenhow, and Schubert families; first edition Zane Grey novels; religious periodicals; popular 19th and early 20th century literature; and school textbooks dating from the early 20th century that cover such topics as geography, history, literature, composition, French, math, and music.