• Collections

    Canal Zone Cemeteries

    We were reminded of the important place that the cemeteries hold in the history of Panama and the Canal Zone by the annual clean-up of the Panamanian cemeteries, supported by CGM Cemetery Preservation Foundation (https://www.cgmcemeteryfoundation.org/) and traditionally held on November 2nd. The PCMC holds several photographs of Canal Zone cemeteries, taken throughout the twentieth century. Help us enhance the collection by describing your memories about the cemeteries or by filling in missing information about the photographs below. 

  • Collections,  Stories from The Zone

    Sports in the Zone

    The PCMC holds a large number of photographs of sports played in the Canal Zone. What sports did you play in the Zone? What was unique about sports in the Canal Zone? Which sports were the most popular or most competitive? As always, please comment if you have any additional information about the photographs below.

  • Collections

    La Boca Normal Training School

    In a recent oral history interview conducted by Pan Caribbean Sankofa, Inc. in collaboration with the PCMC, an interview participant recalled her experiences attending La Boca Normal Training School after high school to train as a teacher. She would become a second-grade teacher and, later, a school crossing guard in the community. What do you remember about La Boca Normal Training School or other schools in La Boca? La Boca Normal Training School yearbook, The Thinker, 1944, pgs. 79-82

  • Collections

    Hitting the Open Road

    While this collection extensively covers the Panama Railroad, we also have a number of photographs of cars and buses. What do you remember about this form of transportation in the Canal Zone and Panama? Did you own your own car? Did you ride chivas or other public buses? What do you remember about the Pan-American Highway or other roads in the Canal Zone or Panama? Below are photographs of automobiles from the collection – do you recognize anyone in these photos? Two boys posing on an automobile outside of Cristobal High School, 1935. Men outside a chiva at a farmer’s market, 1939. A car on Gaillard Highway near Miraflores, undated.

  • Collections


    In her memoir, Canal Zone Daughter, Judy Haisten describes her childhood memories of exploiting movie theater seats for their “steelies”:   “Broken seats were common because of the ‘steelies’ – steel ball-bearings that would come out of the seat mechanism if you knew how to get one. The steelie was a hot commodity. We played marbles every day at school and nothing, I mean nothing, beat having a steelie in a marble collection. …The best way to get a steelie was from a movie-theater seat. First you had to find an unbroken seat. Next, you had to bounce hard in the seat, over and over, just right until the seat…

  • Collections

    Come on in, the Water’s Fine!

    As the weather warms, we’re dreaming of taking a dip in the pool! What community pools were popular in the Canal Zone? Were you on a school or community swim team? Did you prefer to swim in natural bodies of water? As always, any information you have about the photographs below is welcome. Bill Hatchett diving off a springboard, 1950s. Arline Schmidt Winerman in a swim lane, undated. Balboa Pool, undated. Hedvig Seedborg and Janet Potter Cunningham at Chorrera Falls, 1930s. Swimmers playing with a ball at a beach in Portobelo, Panama, undated.

  • Collections

    Canal Zone Clubs

    The collection includes many photographs of the variety of clubs in the Canal Zone. What clubs were you part of and what are your favorite memories from that time? What niche clubs do you remember that we may not have records of in the collection? The photographs below have various amounts of metadata. Please read the captions to help us fill in the missing information! Pedro Miguel Boat Club, undated. Can you identify the people in this photograph? Pacific Sail Fish Club, Balboa Yacht Club, 1939. Can you identify anyone in this photograph? Click on the photograph to enlarge it. Jungle Crews, undated. Do you know what the Jungle Crews…

  • Collections

    Growing Up in the Canal Zone

    One of the strengths of the Panama Canal Museum Collection is its large number of personal photographs depicting everyday life in the Canal Zone, such as the ones shown below. What do you remember most about your childhood in the Canal Zone? Who were your childhood friends and what activities did you do with them? Where were your favorite places to go? Unidentified group of women and children with dolls, 1930s. R. Z. Kirkpatrick and Ralph Hamilton K. called “Kirk,” undated. Gladys Brathwaite and Ida May Gilbert, 1915 or 1916.

  • Collections

    Do You Recognize These Housing Plates?

    We need your help understanding these plates from the Paraiso Housing Office. What was their function? What do S/R, M/R, and M/T stand for? Were the holes used to hold keys? Would something be written in the white spaces? Front of Plate 1. The back is blank. Front of Plate 2. Back of Plate 2.

  • Collections

    Can You Identify These Locations? Part II

    Because of a lack of information about these photographs, they are currently housed in folders labeled “Unknown” – please help the collection by providing the information necessary to move these photos to their appropriate locations! Do you know the names, dates, locations, and/or any additional information about these buildings? 1. Military movie theater, 1940s 2. Unknown town during construction era 3. Unknown location, unknown date 4. Unknown location, unknown date 5. Unknown location, unknown date