W.D. MacBride, 1888-1973

W.D. MacBride

W.D. (Bill) MacBride was born into a Montana railroad family on January 29, 1888. Orphaned as a baby, he was raised by relatives Nellie and Frank Miles. MacBride graduated from teaching college in 1907, and taught high school until 1909. After completing a business course at Blair College in Spokane, he went to work for the Idaho & Washington Railway.

In 1912, MacBride was hired as clerk by the Northern Navigation Company and spent the next two summers posted in Alaska. When the White Pass & Yukon Route bought out the NNC in 1914, MacBride transferred to Whitehorse. He married school teacher Eva Teskey in 1919, and they raised three children: Mary, John and Eva. For nearly five decades he was employed by WP&YR as district passenger agent, public relations officer, and general historian.

MacBride single-handedly acquired many books, photographs and artifacts in the Museum’s collections. In addition, he tenaciously recorded details of Yukon history; many of his essays, letters and articles are preserved in our archives. With his limitless passion for the North, he actively promoted both White Pass and the Territory, giving enthusiastic slide shows in southern Canada and the US to attract visitors to Yukon.

On December 20, 1950, a group of 13 men and women, lead by Immigration Officer Fred Arnot and Bill MacBride, founded the Yukon Historical Society. Mr. Arnot was posted outside the Yukon shortly thereafter, leaving MacBride in charge of the YHS. In 1952, with the growing collection displayed in the Old Telegraph Office, Yukon's first museum opened to the public. When the present facility was completed in 1967, it was named MacBride Museum to acknowledge his role in preserving Yukon heritage.

Due to health reasons, the MacBrides unwillingly left the Yukon in 1961, moving to North Vancouver, where Eva passed away in 1966. Bill continued his efforts to record the history of the Territory until 1973. By all accounts a fine storyteller, his efforts to foster Yukon heritage made him not just a recorder of history but also a key figure in shaping it. White Pass historian Roy Minter wrote this tribute to his friend.

“This fun-loving raconteur aged but never grew old. He spoke with authority and compassion, but never without the joyful touches of humour that were his trademark. Indeed he was a most attractive man whose energy, creativity, and determination were the driving forces behind the early acquisitions of northern documents and artifacts. He was known far and wide outside the Yukon by historians, writers, publishers, and broadcasters, none of whom would think of passing through Whitehorse without contacting Bill MacBride.”

The Yukon owes a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. MacBride for having the foresight to preserve our heritage.

MacBride Museum Facts

Most Visited Exhibits
In 2015, MacBride Museum welcomed more than 23,300 visitors. Plus thousands more see our exhibits at the Canada Games Centre, the Softball Centre, and the Hougen Heritage Gallery in Whitehorse, and at the Skookum Jim House in Carcross.

Yukon’s Favourite Museum
MacBride Museum was voted Yukon’s Best Museum in a Yukon: North of Ordinary magazine Reader’s Poll

Collection of
30,000+ pieces

MacBride Museum cares for more than 30,000 significant photographs, documents and objects.

60 years of preserving and presenting Yukon’s history
MacBride Museum first opened its doors in 1952.

MacBride was Yukon’s first museum
MacBride Museum was founded by the Yukon Historical Society and named for W.D. MacBride.

MacBride Museum of Yukon History
1124 Front St. Whitehorse,
Yukon Canada Y1A 1A4
Phone: (867) 667-2709
pcunning@macbridemuseum.com
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Museum Hours WE ARE OPEN ALL YEAR
Fall & Winter Hours
September to May 14
Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm
Summer Hours (May 16-August 31)
Daily 9:30am-5:30pm
Wednesdays & Thursdays in July and August we will be open until 7:30pm (except July 21)