The Museum, a National Historic Site and a Civil and Power Engineering Landmark, was designed by Thomas Coltrin Keefer and built by the City of Hamilton from 1856-1859. The Pumphouse and Pumping Station are designated by the City of Hamilton under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The property is also protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust Easement Agreement. It was the first water pumping station for the City of Hamilton and it remains the most significant group of pre-Confederation pumphouse buildings in Canada.
ERA directed conservation work to three of the buildings, including restoration of building 1913’s steel windows and the 45 metre smoke stack, redesigned the exhibit layout in the boiler house and reconfigured the wood shed as barrier-free meeting space and washrooms.