The Okanagan Historical and Natural History Society was incorporated in Vernon on September 4, 1925. The society was formed for "the purpose of historical research and study of the natural history of this part of the province." The first president was Leonard Norris. A certificate of incorporation was obtained April 19, 1960 under the Societies Act, and the constitution and bylaws
were filed with the B.C. Registrar of Companies. Amendments and revisions have been filed over the years, most recently on April 29, 2018. The objectives of the society are:
- To stimulate active interest in our heritage, more particularly its historical and archaeological aspects;
- To promote the preservation of historical sites, monuments, buildings, pictures, writings and names;
- From time to time and as circumstances permit, to accurately record and publish the current and past history of the Okanagan, Similkameen and Shuswap areas and other matters of significant interest to the Society;
- To cooperate with museum boards and educational institutions.
The First Report of the Society was published on September 10, 1926. Through the next twenty years there were eleven more reports. After the Second World War, the report became an annual event with editors volunteering from up and down the valley. The first report had thirty-five pages while the latest one has over two hundred twenty. This publishing project is overseen by the Executive Council.
The Executive Council consists of table officers elected at the Annual General Meeting of the society, and includes a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and editor. There are seven branches: Salmon Arm, Armstrong/Enderby, Vernon, Kelowna, Summerland, Penticton and Oliver/Osoyoos. Two directors are elected at each branch's Annual General Meeting and join the branch president to become voting members of the Executive Council. The council appoints directors-at-large for various projects or activities, e.g. historic trails, index
, website, student essay
, Father Pandosy Mission. The Executive Council meets three times a year in Kelowna. The Annual General Meeting's location is rotated among the branches and is held at the end of April.
The Executive Council is responsible for maintaining three lots at the old Fairview townsite
near Oliver and the Father Pandosy Mission
site in Kelowna.