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Samson V Museum


"Of National Historic Significance!"

The Samson V, launched in 1937, is the last surviving wooden steam-powered sternwheeler built for the federal Department of Public Works for use as a snag-boat on the Fraser River. At 418 gross tons and 115’ on deck, she was the fifth in a series of similar vessels dating back to 1884 that cleared debris, maintained aids to navigation and government docks, performed surveys and served other functions as needed.

The Samson V was the last steam-powered sternwheeler to operate in Canada and representative of a long-standing federal government involvement in maintaining the waterways of western Canada. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has declared the operation of sternwheeler snag-boats by the Department of Public works on the rivers of British Columbia an event of national historic significance and in the future intends to commemorate this by means of a plaque installed on or near the Samson V, “the last representative example” of these vessels.

The Samson V was retired in 1980 and sold to the City of New Westminster for one dollar on the understanding that the vessel would be preserved as a museum and that it occupy a unique place in the Province’s and City’s maritime heritage. The Samson V remains the only completely intact and floating wooden sternwheeler in North America.

  • We have openings for volunteers that involve a short interview and orientation. Check out our Volunteer Opportunities.

    Take the first step and submit a Volunteer Application form.

    We currently have openings for programming volunteers.  Each applicant has a short interview with a museum staff member to assess suitable placement.  The next step is an orientation (about two hours) on either a weekday or a Saturday morning.  Orientations for programming volunteers are ongoing.  Volunteer positions in programming are suitable for students and English learners.

    The programming positions are:

    • School program docents (weekdays)
    • Holiday program docents (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Xmas, other holidays)
    • Tour guide assistants on the Samson v (May – October positions)
    • Summer program docents at Irving House and the Samson V (July – August)

    While we are accepting applications for archival and curatorial research volunteers, there are currently no openings for research volunteers.  Interviews and orientations for these volunteers will take place as openings arise.

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