These are not all strictly “Museums” but they are all of interest.
Since they are mostly operated by Volunteers, most are not open all year nor all day – see the descriptions for their hours or better still, go to their web sites by clicking on the links provided. You can easily get directions to their locations by googling their addresses. With one exception (Sports Hall of fame), they are all within walking distance of each other and located in Downtown Cobourg.
- Marie Dressler Museum - open by appointment
- Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre - open weekends Victoria Day (May) to Thanksgiving (October)
- Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame - open
- Art Gallery of Northumberland - open
- James Cockburn Room - closed
- Northumberland County Archives & Museum (NCAM) - by appointment only
Marie Dressler Museum
Housed in the Marie Dressler House which by itself is of interest, the Museum’s current exhibition From Cobourg to Hollywood, will give visitors the opportunity to get to know one of Hollywood's most beloved film stars through a selection of photographs, artifacts, and digital interactive content drawn from the Marie Dressler Foundation's collection.
The Museum is operated by the Marie Dressler Foundation which is a registered charity whose mission is to make sure that Marie Dressler is remembered. It was created to raise money to restore her house when it was burnt down in 1989 and has a premium annual activity:
- A Vintage Film Festival held each Fall in Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre
The Museum was recently created and uses up-to-date interactive technology.
In Dressler House at 212 King street West (Hwy 2), Cobourg
Now open in 2022 by appointment via their web site here: Canadian Women in Film Go to Contact Visit Us
The Marie Dressler Foundation has expanded the museum to include the other two female Oscar winning Canadian stars Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer. More here and here. The Mary Pickford part has now been implemented. Update here.
Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre
The Centre is operated by the Cobourg Museum Foundation which is a volunteer run, registered, not-for-profit charity, founded in 1999 by a group of citizens concerned about the state of near collapse of the limestone building locally known as the “barracks” believed to be the only limestone building ever constructed in the area. The building is now thought to be a brewery house and is used to house different exhibitions every summer. The exhibits focus on different aspects of local history each year.
A popular extra is an operating outdoor model railway with a scale model of the since failed bridge over Rice Lake. There is also a gift shop on site.
141 Orr Street, Cobourg
May & June / Sept. & Oct
Saturdays & Holidays 10 - 5
Sundays 1 - 5
July & August
Wed. - Sat. & Holidays 10 - 5
Sundays 1 - 5
Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame
Local Sports enthusiasts have collected some memorabilia and stories for the last century or so and remembered them in displays in the Cobourg Community Centre’s grand Hall. Opened in early 2019, there will be 8 inductees each year with the first eight named at the opening ceremony.
Since the exhibits are housed in the Community Centre, the hours are the same as the Community Centre: Most days: 7:00am to 8:00pm; closed some Holidays and open later if there is a major event.
Especially useful in the Covid-19 era, the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame now have a large web site: https://www.cdshf.ca/
Art Gallery of Northumberland
The mandate of the Art Gallery of Northumberland is to promote and provide access to art and related programs as a community gallery for the enjoyment and education of the people of Northumberland County.
The AGN exists to serve all of Northumberland County as a public gallery. It presents intellectually stimulating exhibitions and programming, as well as maintain a permanent collection of visual arts. Along with exhibitions the AGN fulfills their mandate through educational activities which encourage active dialogue between the Gallery audience and the visual arts; including lectures, films, workshops, artist talks and tours.
There are professionally curated exhibitions at the gallery at all times – they are rotated through so that repeat visits are worthwhile.
Victoria Hall, 55 King Street West, West Wing, Third Floor
Tuesday-Friday: 10 am – 4 pm
Saturday: 12 pm – 4 pm
James Cockburn Room
In Victoria Hall, there is a room set up as it might have been when James Cockburn had an office there in the 1860’s. James was one of Canada’s fathers of Confederation. On special occasions this room is open to the public – these days are not frequent but you can be assured that any day dedicated to James such as the James Cockburn day on the first Monday in August will be one of them. If you go on one of the tours of Victoria Hall in the summer, you will also likely see the room.
Each year Rob Franklin dresses as James Cockburn and performs in a play – usually held outside Victoria Hall on the Saturday of the long weekend at the start of August.
In 2017, the actual chair used by James was on loan to Cobourg – see the photo.
Victoria Hall, 55 King Street West, ground floor.
Northumberland County Archives & Museum (NCAM)
Currently housed in the Cobourg library building, this was previously called the County Archives. It is planned to expand the museum and the display of its collection when it moves into its new premises scheduled for January 2023. That will be in the new Golden Plough building behind the County Offices at William and Elgin.
The archive is operated by Northumberland County with a professional archivist.
Services currently available:
- Research support
- Access to artefacts and documents representing lives from all over Northumberland County - historical and contemporary - including municipal records, family and genealogical records, property records, photos, maps, and other items
- Programming-in-class 'Intro to Primary Sources' for young primaries, as well as a comprehensive lesson package for Grade 3 entitled 'Life in the 1800's in Northumberland County'
- Engaging tours to small groups, which can be customized by interest.
What visitors can look forward to at the new space:
- Space to achieve mandated duties to preserve municipal records and deliver enhanced programming and exhibitions, increasing access to underrepresented local historical and cultural collections.
- A permanent display about the history of Northumberland County
- An expanded reading room for public research
- A processing & conservation lab
- A quarantine area for new/unprocessed artefacts/documents
- A gallery for community groups to showcase the stories they wish to tell
The NCAM collection is built through the generous donation of materials by individuals and organizations. Staff seek to build a collection that represents the diverse experiences and histories of this area, and are available to answer questions about the primary sources NCAM is interested in collecting, and how to donate.
Cobourg library is at 200 Ontario Street. That is, the corner of King Street West and Ontario Street - accessed from Albert Street.
Regular hours (September to May): Tuesday and Wednesday 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Summer hours (June to August): Monday to Thursday 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closures: The Archives and Museum is closed on all statutory holidays.
- Abigail Miller – Corporate Records and Archival Services Coordinator
- Katie Kennedy – Records and Archival Services Assistant
They can be reached at