The lineage of the Archives & Research Library (ARL) of the New Brunswick Museum extends back to 1842, with the opening of Dr. Abraham Gesner’s Museum in Saint John.
In 1843, Dr. Gesner left New Brunswick and his museum became the Mechanic’s Institute Museum. In 1890, the collections were taken over by the Natural History Society and in 1932, were transferred to the newly completed New Brunswick Museum on Douglas Ave. The archival records, along with material from the Saint John branch of the Public Archives of Canada, which closed just prior to the opening of the new provincial museum, formed the nucleus of the New Brunswick Museum library and archival holdings.
These collections were housed in various locations in the building before being moved to the third level, where they remained until 1996 when the ARL re-opened in its new home on the main floor of the Douglas Ave. building. This location was more accessible to staff and researchers and provided space for some continued growth of the collections.
Both the library and archival holdings complement the artifact and specimen collections of the New Brunswick Museum and are used extensively by museum staff, genealogical researchers, students, scholars, and the general public.