The Niagara Falls Museum, considered to be Canada's oldest museum, was established by Thomas Barnett in 1831. His museum was the quintessential cabinet of curiosities and by the mid-nineteenth century it was displaying thousands of specimens, both foreign and domestic.
Barnett was committed to preserving a record of the visitors who passed through his doors by keeping a series of guest registers. These registers included signatures of not only the everyday tourist but also famous names like Sir John A. MacDonald, Abraham Lincoln, General Ulysses S. Grant, P.T. Barnum, and the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII).
In January of 2015, The Niagara Falls History Museum became the steward of fifty-nine of these handwritten ledgers that date back to 1838 and span more than 150 years. These guest registers hold the undiscovered stories of those who visited Niagara Falls and represent our unique history of tourism, people and museums.
If you would like to join our team of staff and volunteers in bringing these pages to life through digitization & transcription, please contact Suzanne Moase.
The Barnett Guestbooks are searchable only within the volumes that have so far been transcribed by the museum's volunteer project. As more volumes are transcribed, more names will become searchable.