J.A.V. David Museum

See also...   Heritage House Arts Council   &  The Turtle Mountain Flywheel Club

This museum, named for J. A. V. David, was located in Killarney’s first post office. Constructed in 1889 for the postmaster Charles Bate, it also served as his home and, for the first few years, a store. A large front room served the post office and a room above it, which was accessed by an outside staircase—was rented for meetings of the municipal council and literary society, a music studio, and a Sunday school. The building also served as the Bate family residence. In the 1950s the building was purchased by the Town of Killarney and the RM of Turtle Mountain.

A library was located on the lower floor beginning in 1958 and a museum opened on the upper floor in 1960. Later the library moved out and the museum took over the whole building. In 1967, the name of the museum was changed from the Lakeland Museum to the J. A. Victor David Museum. The museum, which is now located on land next to the former museum building, has a growing collection of period clothing and furniture, tools, war mementos, cameras, photographs, and archival material. It is run by a board of directors responsible to the municipal council, which owns and helps to maintain the building. In deteriorating condition, the original building was demolished in December 2011.

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Our Story

The J.A.V. David Museum is located in Killarney, Manitoba.

History of the Museum

The Bate building was one of Killarney’s most historic buildings. The property (lot 6 & 7 on Williams Ave.) was bought by Charles Bate from John Williams for $200.in February 1889. James MacNaughton, contractor and lumber dealer, was engaged to supply material and workmanship for the building which was completed in August for $1,756.94.

Charles Bate was appointed Postmaster in 1883, collecting the mail from Wakopa to which it had come by courier from Brandon via Deloraine. The post office on his homestead burned down so he first moved to T.J. Lawlor’s store and then to a tar-paper shack on Broadway, just north of the present post office. The new building on Williams Ave. was to be his home and the front room the postoffice and for a few years a store. The room above the post office, which where accessed by stairs on the outside was rented out for council meetings, the literary society, a music studio, and a Sunday school. Mr. Bate was postmaster until his death in 1920, when he was succeeded by his daughter Aquila. In the 1950’s, Mrs. A.M. High, Charles Bate daughter, wished the building and grounds to be used for some community purpose. The property was purchased jointly by the Town of Killarney and the R.M. of Turtle Mountain.

The Museum has been in existence since Charles Havelock needed a home for his Natural History Display in 1958. It was first stored n a lean to behind the library in the Bate building. Mr. J.AV. David, Mayor of Killarney at that time, arranged to develop the second floor of the building as a museum. Much work and initiative was required to make the rooms suitable, but with the help of many volunteers (notably, W.A. McKnight, S.E. Rigby, and Alex Cochrane) and many community donations the Lakeland Museum was opened in 1960. The Centennial Year, 1967, the museum was renamed the J.A. Victor David Museum in honor of its founder.

It came as a great relief when the overcrowded museum could spread out into the lower floor, vacated by the Library. Overcrowding again made its self felt and a new building was constructed adjacent to the first building in 1985, with the assistance of federal grants, private donations as well as generous support from the R.M. of Turtle Mountain and the Town of Killarney. In 1991 the archives and storage room were added to the museum.

The property is owned by the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain, which contributes the cost of utilities and maintenance and upkeep of the building. The museum itself is administered by a volunteer board.

Unfortunately in 2009 all artifacts were moved out of the building to protect them from mold and excessive moisture in the building. The building was demolished on Dec. 8. 2011.

Emerald Memorial Park was opened Sept. 8, 2014 on the land where the Bate building stood. Grants from the Killarney Foundation, Agrium, donations and many volunteer hours, made it possible.


Exhibits include a Pioneer Kitchen & Dining Room, Children’s Room and General Store and Post Office.  There is a large Camera collection from the Edward’s Studio, Church exhibit and the Charles Havelock Natural History Exhibit. There is many period clothing and furniture, books, musical instruments, local paintings and photographs.

In addition we have a large exhibit of personal artifacts from the Military from this area.  Agricultural exhibit and the Gordon Randall Collection of arrowheads and other pre contact artifacts.

The museum also has a large amount of archival material in the Archives including maps, photographs, letters, family histories and historical documents from many local service groups.

Our museum hosts a wide array of artifacts and archives showcasing the wonderful legacy of this area.

J.A.V. David Museum
414 William Ave
Killarney MB  R0K 1G0
Primary Phone: 204-523-7325
Admission: By donation

Regular Hours:

July 2nd- August 28th, Closed on Mondays
10AM - Noon  & 1 - 5PM

Off Season Hours:

by appointment, please call 204-523-7325, or 204-523-7325 or 204-523-7369

About the Museum:

The J.A.V. David Museum features Native and Pioneer artifacts, war relics, photographs, cameras, maps, trophies, textiles, art, and a restored historic post office.