The Cecil Patterson Archaeology Collection contains roughly 3,500 artifacts from over 80 archaeological sites across Manitoba. The earliest pieces in the collection were made over 10,000 years ago! The collection is composed of archaeological objects from many of Manitoba's First Nations cultures, including the Cree, Anishnabe, Inuit, Dakota and Chipewyan. The collection provides a glimpse of pre-European contact life in the boreal forest, aspen parkland, and prairie regions of Manitoba. A large part of the Patterson Collection is contained in a group of projectile points originating from Texas. Most artifacts were used for hunting, hide preparation, and food preparation. These include projectile points (spear points, atlatl dart points, and arrowheads) and musket balls; bifaces (knives); as well as scrapers, grooved axe heads, mauls (hammer stones), pottery and rim shards. Ethnological objects include moccasins, mitts, garments, beaded necklaces, and clothing accessories.
Through out his adult life, Cecil Patterson collected First Nations artifacts. He discovered former occupational sites dating back to pre-contact times in the area around The Pas. Patterson kept in touch with proper collecting procedures through the National Museum in Ottawa. He acquired objects through digs, from First Nations people, and apparently purchased and traded with other collectors. In 1970 the Transcona Springfield School Division bought the collection from Patterson through fund raising and community support for $5,000 - or $1 per student. Later that year the collection was brought to the museum, where it remains today.
Due to the sizeable extent of the collection, a portion of the entire collection is on display. One specialty case is available for educational programs and presentations. Those interested may view photographs of the collection in storage upon request.