“Kaatza” is the Quw’utsun name for the Cowichan Lake. However, the museum bearing this name is in fact situated on the unceded territory of the Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation.
The Kaatza Historical Society was established in 1975 and opened the Kaatza Station Museum in the town of Lake Cowichan in 1983. The museum collects, conserves, catalogues, researches, and interprets the history of the Cowichan Lake area, which includes the communities of Mesachie Lake, Honeymoon Bay, and Youbou, BC. The society is mandated to provide access to historical information for the community and visitors, including for archivists, journalists, school groups, authors, government officials, and community members.
Permanent displays at the museum include recreations of an early settler pioneer parlor, bedroom, kitchen, and post office. The museum also celebrates the region’s history of natural resource extraction with rooms and displays dedicated to forestry labour unionism, logging and milling, mining, and railways, as well as an immersive mining shaft experience and a train and rail outdoor exhibit.
The museum archives contain the records of Lake Cowichan organizations, businesses, and societies dating back to the late-19th century. In 2018 the Society successfully completed an annex expansion to their archives dedicated to housing the records of forestry union the International Woodworkers of America.