Prior to 1982, historical artefacts that the Regiment had gathered had simply been boxed and stored. In that year, a flood in the storage facility damaged many of those artefacts. To try to salvage the situation, Captain Chris Atkin, a regimental officer, moved the collection to his home. Over the next few years, he restored, catalogued, and expanded the collection.
In 1985, Captain Atkin established the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Museum Foundation with the goal of finding a permanent home for the collection. Through intense lobbying, he secured space in the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre in Edmonton. This is historically significant as this is the building where the regiment was based from 1920 to 1965.
What followed this start was a long period of setting up the museum facility, administration, and staff. The gallery space had to be renovated and display cabinets had to be built and installed. Similarly, the storage facility had to be set up, including the purchase and installation of many storage cabinets, racks, etc. An administrative office also had to be set up, including a computer network with all the necessary software. Security systems were installed. Part-time and volunteer staff had to be arranged for to deal with the day-to-day operation. All of this cost money and the pace of development depended largely on the success of fundraising activities such as securing various government grants and running casinos and bingos. Again, Captain Atkin was a driving force throughout this period. Captain Atkin retired from his role with the Museum in 2000.
The Museum opened its doors to the public in November 1997 with the Major General William Antrobus Griesbach Gallery. After just over half a year in operation the Museum was hit by a devastating flood on 1 July 1999 when a sewage main burst beneath the armouries and several feet of water seeped into the Museum storage area – unfortunately at a time when most of the museum artefacts were still stored in boxes on the floor. The entire ground floor open area of the Armouries was turned over to drying tables. Ultimately very little was irretrievably lost, but some artefacts were water damaged, and many became separated from their documentation in the haste to get objects out of the water and onto the drying tables. Reconciling artefacts to documentation has continued over the past decade.
The flood delayed opening the Museum’s second display area, the Colonel James Riley Stone Gallery, but this finally came about later in 1999. Also later that year the Museum installed seven display cabinets in the alcoves of doors formerly giving access to offices. These displays opened onto the floor of the armouries to give visitors and persons attending functions there a taste of the Museum even when the galleries are closed.
The Museum commenced operations with two large and one very small storage rooms in the armouries basement. Various types of industrial shelving were installed in the large storage rooms, receiving many compliments by visiting personnel from other museums. After a few years the Museum obtained interconnecting additional space in the basement, and constructed a room to house the growing collection of books and pamphlets.
From the start the Museum has been open not only to individual tours, but for group visits. Many of these are from school classes or youth groups. On request the Museum supplies a tour guide or guides to explain the exhibits and the regiment’s history. With a known group coming to visit, the Museum has occasionally arranged a special display in one cabinet, and sometimes these have been left up for general display.
In 2001 the Museum opened its first specific theme display, “War Brides”, using half of the Stone Gallery. The following year the “Horse Warriors” display took up the whole of the gallery. In 2003 “Ortona”, which was to become the last theme display for several years, was opened to explain the Regiment’s participation in the Christmas week street battle in Italy.
Over the years the Museum has set up various displays at other locations, for a variety of purposes. Some have just been for a day or two, in conjunction with some special occasion. Others have been longer term, and a few for an indefinite length of time.
In October 2007 the Museum closed on short notice to allow repairs to the Prince of Wales Armouries roof. The office and all displays were dismantled and lodged in temporary storage. In April 2009 the Museum re-opened, with the gallery displays largely redesigned.
By mid 2011 the Museum expects to have the “Canada’s Hundred Days” exhibit installed, outlining the participation of the Canadian Corps in ending the First World War.
The Museum office has been the home of The Fortyniner, the annual journal of The Loyal Edmonton Regiment, since 1998. This magazine is now one of Canada's oldest ongoing military publications. It was put out originally by the 49th Battalion in 1916. A total of eight issues appeared sporadically up to 1919. In 1929 the Fortyniner was revived by the regimental association, and has appeared regularly ever since.