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Manitoba History No. 89

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Historic Sites of Manitoba
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Chapman Museum (Municipality of Riverdale)

Link to:
Photos & Maps | Sources

A small community museum in what is now the Municipality of Riverdale was opened in 1967, as a Canadian centennial project, on the farm of Albert T. “Ab” Chapman and his wife Harriet (1918-1979). By all accounts, the Chapmans were passionate about local history. When Harriet Chapman died, Ab Chapman redoubled his efforts to preserve and present history. In time, the facility consisted of 16 historic buildings, including five one-room schoolhouses (Harrow School No. 464, Pendennis School No. 920, Poplar Hill School No. 479, Robinville School No. 1392, and Westwood School No. 1308), general store, Roseville Anglican Church, blacksmith shop, buildings from the former railway siding of Pendennis, pioneer homes, and a wide array of farm and domestic equipment documenting prairie life at the turn of the 20th century

Chapman opened his museum seven days a week, year round (by appointment in the winter) and charged no admission (although donations were accepted). In 1986, he had more than 900 visitors. As Chapman's health declined, operation of the museum was taken over by his daughter and son-in-law, Lois and Gordon Allen. In 2014, the museum closed after 47 years of operations and its collections were dispersed to the Archives of Manitoba, Manitoba Museum, Fort La Reine Museum, and elsewhere.

Photos & Maps

Chapman Museum

Chapman Museum (September 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Poplar Hill School

The former Poplar Hill School building (September 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Harrow School

The original Harrow School building (circa 1986)
Source: Historic Resources Branch, Public School Buildings Inventory, slide 266.

Westwood School

The former Westwood School building (September 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Robinville School

The former Robinville School building (September 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough


Among buildings at the Chapman Museum are ones from the nearby now-abandoned railway siding of Pendennis (September 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough


The museum featured a collection of bricks from various brickyards around Manitoba (September 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Location (lat/long): N49.95698, W100.14143
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pendennis Monument (Municipality of Riverdale)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pendennis School No. 920 (Municipality of Riverdale)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Poplar Hill School No. 479 (Municipality of Riverdale)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Robinville School No. 1392 (Municipality of Riverdale)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Westwood School No. 1308 (Municipality of Riverdale)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba


“A museum piece in rural politics,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 August 1985, page 2.

“Farmer protects prairie history,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 December 1992, page 16.

One Hundred Years in the History of the Rural Schools of Manitoba: Their Formation, Reorganization and Dissolution (1871-1971) by Mary B. Perfect, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, April 1978.

We thank Lois Allen for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 6 August 2017

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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