Vancouver Police Museum
The Vancouver Police Museum opened to commemorate the centennial of the Vancouver Police Department and the City of Vancouver, British Columbia in 1986. Located at 240 E. Cordova Street in Vancouver's Gastown, the museum is housed in a building that was once both the Coroner’s Court and autopsy facilities (until 1980) and the City Analyst’s laboratory (until 1996). In 1935, the Coroner's Court was used as a makeshift hospital by police during the Battle of Ballantyne Pier. It was designed by architect Arthur J. Bird, and today it is a municipally designated heritage building.
The museum is run by the Vancouver Police Historical Society, a non-profit organization established in 1983 with the mandate to foster interest in the history of the Vancouver Police Department and to open a museum for this purpose. The catalyst for the project was the museum's first curator, Joe Swan, a former police sergeant and amateur historian. Swan wrote the department's official history book, which was published by the Vancouver Historical Society in 1986, entitled, A Century of Service: The Vancouver Police, 1886-1986.
The museum houses a collection of approximately 20,000 objects. This includes archival documents, photographs, publications, confiscated firearms and other weapons, counterfeit currency, and a various other artifacts and memorabilia, of which an estimated 40% is on display. The museum offers educational programs for children and walking tours of the neighbourhood on the theme, "Sins of the City." The museum has a gift shop and publishes a quarterly newsletter.
The museum is self-funded through admission and program fees, membership fees, donations, gift shop sales, and project grants; the museum receives no direct funding from the Vancouver Police Department or the City of Vancouver but does receive in-kind support.