The Penticton Museum was established in 1954, when the city gave local collector R.N. Atkinson the use of the decommissioned sternwheeler S.S. Sicamous to house his private collection.
A long-time Penticton resident and veteran of the First World War, Reg Atkinson collected militaria, native artefacts, firearms, and antiques since the early 1920s and had previously operated a private museum in his home. The R.N. Atkinson Temporary Gallery is named in honour of the Penticton Museum's first curator, who passed away in 1973.
In 1965 the museum moved to its current location at the Penticton Community Art complex, which it continues to share with the Penticton Public Library.
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