Sunday, December 19, 2010

Seasons Greetings

It is definitely going to be a white Christmas in Cut Knife this year. It seems as if each day brings a little more of the white stuff. Very pictureque - but a little sunshine would be nice too.
May your Christmas season be blessed with the company of family and friends, sharing past experiences and creating new ones.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It started as just another day...

It was one of those days that I would wish away.
The relative humidity in Ovenstown was sky high because of water in the basement. So the morning and part of the afternoon was spent moving artifacts to the MAC. Recruited volunteers from the coffee shop to help move them. Lloyd set up heater in display area to try and dry it out.
Not fun.
Now to try and figure out a permanent fix.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wildlife in the Park

This year we have had a variety of wildlife in the park. Some were welcome, some were not.

There have been the usual geese and ducks. They are wonderful to watch - especially the young ones. They tend to leave their deposits on the path, but that washed off regularly in the rain this year. The foxes first made their unwelcome presence felt when the water fowl began to disappear one by one.
Then the familiar odor of skunk brought out the traps. Visitors don't seem to like the smell!
Weasels have been spotted but they are tolerated because they like the 'Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie(s)'.
Yes, the mice have invaded again. The old buildings have numerous entry points for the destructive little creatures. A trap line was set up and Orval has been checking it regularly. Thanks, Orval. Not my favorite job. :(
And now a beaver has decided that the trees that border the pond would make a good lodge. Sorry, Mr. Beaver, you have to move on to another place. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Old School Has New Job

Wardenville School has sat in one place for over 50 years, but today it was moved to the Baldwinton district where it will take on a new job.
The building was a school from 1951 to 1958. The previous building was used from 1910 to 1951. In 1960 the community organized a community club to maintain the school and have a place to hold events. Over the years there have been Christmas concerts, wedding showers, birthday and anniversary parties, meetings, ball games, and snowmobile rallies held at Wardenville. The Wilbert 4-H Club used the building and grounds for many Achievement Days until several years ago.
The declining population and interest made the Community Club disband and sell the building to Bob Gregoire.
Another landmark is gone, leaving just memories. A sign will be erected to mark the site.
Many mice are now looking for a new home - or maybe they moved to Baldwinton too?
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Great Group of Archaeology Buffs

A big bus rolled into the park on Sunday with the Sask Archaeological Society on board. They were touring in our area and we were very pleased that they chose our museum as one of their stops.
I met some very interesting people. One had memories of Clayton McLain and Poundmaker's Medicine Bundle which I found fascinating. One requested information about one of our artifacts that has ties to the Humboldt Telegraph Station. Others who obviously have knowledge that I would have loved to tap into more thoroughly. I contemplated locking the door so they couldn't leave so soon. ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Country Corner Store

 Wilbert Store is one of those places that one doesn't find very often any more. It is located at the corner of Highways 40 and 21 west of the town of Cut Knife.
The store was built in 1935 at the present location. It is a general store selling a bit of everything. Convenience store items, ice cream, gas, fireworks, a few antiques, subs and a coffee corner keep the customers coming through the door.

With living quarters attached and extensive operating hours, it has a lifestyle that not everyone could manage.
Over the years a lot of different people have stopped at the store, often with their own interesting stories to tell.
It's one of those places that one would miss if it was gone.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some Things Never Change In the Midst of Phenomenal Change

I was invited to talk at our local high school about some of our museum's heritage buildings. The Art Class had used them as subjects for drawings and wanted more information about the structures.
The presentation went fairly well from my prospective. I had my notes about the buildings but had not been able to bring as many photos as I would have liked.
Walking into the same classroom that I spent a lot of time in decades ago was a bit strange. And then finding the same budding comedians who have frequented high schools forever gave me deja vu. And they think they are cool?? They should have seen the early 1960's variety or the 1970's variety. Now that was cool.
I would have loved to have the Smart Board technology when I taught. It's so cool. Our museum website and museum building photos were brought up on the screen in front of the class. Lord, that's cool.
If I'd known she had that technology, I could have uploaded even more pics. Boy, ..., you know, it's... cool.
There was the class: the bored ones, the late ones, the tired ones, the quiet ones, the interested ones (yes, there might have been one or two of them.) I saw sparks of intelligence in the midst of the 'coolness'.
Come on kids, take advantage of the wonderful opportunities you have of learning in today's schools - full of awesome technology and even a few teachers who are there working to help you succeed. Make them really do their job - challenge their knowledge.

Yup, school's changed, but not that much.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Small Museum Has Unique Fighter Plane

 A small museum in Quebec's Eastern Townships has an important piece of WW1 history. Knowlton Museum attained a Fokker DVII (German fighter plane) years ago and are fighting to keep it.

Sure hope they can hold on to it. A little money sent their way instead of to the big museums for a change would help.

Boy, this is a story to which I can relate.
The publicity will help their cause too.

The link to the news story is

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bird Houses and Museum

So what do birdhouses and museums have in common?
Well, this one in particular was part of a fund raising effort by a few lady friends of the museum. We had a lovely time letting our creative juices flow into the small painting projects that were offered for sale in the museum this summer.
There were also boxes and trays with old Cut Knife photos.
It was fun to do and even more fun to share the time with the women.

The items sold quite well. Hopefully the purchasers enjoy them as much as I do this bird house.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Now that we are just sitting around twiddling our thumbs...

"Since the museum is now closed, what are you doing?"
There is actually more work done after the museum is closed for the season.
  • All the paperwork for payroll needs to be done. Final cheques made out, ROE forms, and final grant info filled out and sent away. Fingers crossed that everything meets with their approval.
  • Each month bills have to be paid. Our Treasurer never has a slow time.
  • Mice have invaded our space and the trap line needs constant vigilance. :(
  • Eavestroughing is being installed on Duvall House. This is being done by a commercial company but still requires some supervision to ensure it is done as needed.
  • Cat tails (yes, cat tail plants) have been removed from Ovenstown eavestroughing. ??? They were growing about 2 feet tall when someone noticed them.
  • Items need to be transported over to our heated office. Lots of items. May take a few more trips.
  • Codes need to be changed on buildings. We have keyless entries on quite a few of our buildings and the Staff codes are changed every year.
  • We are offering booked tours now. These are still being requested so tour guides need to be arranged. This can be a challenge as harvesting has begun in our area.
  • Vulnerable items need covering for the winter (textile exhibits for example). But this has to wait for the last tour to go through.
  • At the last moment before freeze up, the sump pump in Ovenstown needs to be pulled out so it doesn't freeze as well.
  • Planning for exhibit changes begins now. Some signage improvements still are needed. Very time consuming project.
  • The archival materials are in disarray in the MAC. Lots of work is needed to organize them. 
  • The Collections Management program needs hours of work updating the records.
  • Sales stock needs to be evaluated and plans made for 2011. 
  • Fund raising is always on our minds. Does anyone have any new ideas to make lots of money with minimal effort?? lol
I am sure there are more tasks that are sitting there ready for our volunteers to do. We just haven't noticed them yet.
Yup, we are really enjoying the 'off season'.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Homestead Papers and Land Grant Certificates Available

Copies of homestead papers and land grant certificates are available to the public.
For more information:
  • visit the Saskatchewan Homestead Index at ; or
  • visit the Saskatchewan Archives Board website at or phone the Saskatchewan Archives in Regina, 306-787-4068, or in Saskatoon at 306-933-5832.
I imagine there will be a small fee for the copying service.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Acquisition

Russell Stewart is standing beside the melodeon that he donated to the museum this year.
It belonged to his grandmother, Lucinda Rebecca Cunningham Atton, 1854-1940. As a young woman in Kincardine, Ontario, she taught music on the melodeon. When Lucinda and her husband, William Matthew Atton, came west to homestead in March 1906, the melodeon came with them. Their son Fred rode in the train box car of settler's effects guarding his mother's treasured instrument.
Lucinda and the children spent the summer in a rented house in Battleford until their home was ready for them to move into on SW 14-44-20 in the Riding Hill District in September. Lucinda and William lived for the rest of their lives in this house. The Attons owned the land that bordered the lake that was named after them, Atton's Lake.
The melodeon was passed down to Lucinda's daughter, Annie, who gave it to Russell.
We are very honored to have this treasured musical instrument in our museum's collection.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

The Last Week Mad Dash

Every year I have a burst of energy in the last week that the museum is open.
The visitor traffic is down and my 'to do' list is still far too long. So I spend a lot of time at the museum trying to make the season a little more productive. At least for my list.
In the big picture we have accomplished a lot again this summer.
New wheelchair ramps and the Duvall House exhibits completed and the main floor usable.
New flagpoles and fixed roof on Raymond's Store.
And I almost forgot the new office and Sales area. How could I forget - it's great! (Needs a little electrical work tho - hint, hint, Glenn!)
The 1885 Photo Exhibit looks good - at least in my eyes.
The Armstrong Building has been cleaned up a bit and there is a great new work bench.
The outdoor exhibit signage is up and awaiting the info to be put in them. (I have it 1/2 done!)
The Railway Display is progressing well - should have most of the signage up tomorrow.
Mitchell has constructed new intro signage stands and Tori and Rachel have painted them. I will do the signage for them this fall.
I even had time to do some organizing on the MAC computer. The files were so jumbled up - should be easier to find things. Or at least for me - sorry, Noreen, if I mixed things up for you.
Our printer at the MAC has been giving us grief - paper stuck, refusal to print more than one page at a time, incompatibility with Vista. I almost took the hammer to it, but it has too much ink left to use in it.
Next week I promise I will stay home more - no more dashing!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ribbon Cutting

Jean Duvall Parkinson and Janice Duvall cutting ribbon for Grand Opening of Duvall House
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Duvall House Grand Opening

 We had a week of cleaning, moving, arranging, cleaning again, re-arranging, changing my mind, and re-arranging again. (Yes, Tori, the old bat is losing it!) But last night made it all worth while.
The Grand Opening of the Duvall House, 1928 farmhouse, was a wonderful success. After the ribbon cutting at the front door by Jean Duvall Parkinson and Janice Duvall (both had lived in the house), Noreen welcomed everyone and made a few short remarks. There are so many people to thank in the journey of restoring the house from volunteers to donors that we decided to be very general and not mention names in fear of leaving someone out.
Of course there are a few that just have to be mentioned. Like Randy Brackenbury and Lorne Veikle - they instigated the whole project and did so much work to fix up the building.
Glenn Stewart spent the last day and a half getting the electricity to all parts of the house so we could light it up and show how magnificent it is. 
Some people who will not be named stained and varnished the floors upstairs and quite a bit of the woodwork pretty much by herself. And she wields a mean paint brush on cupboards too!
Refreshments were served and many little remembrances of the house were heard in conversations. If only they would have agreed to write them down.
There were about 75 people attending which was pretty much a full house.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Painting Restored

This beautiful painting by Marilyn Weikle and Ralph Veikle was restored by Marilyn and returned to the museum on Friday. Now to find a spot to put it so it can be shown off. What a great job, Marilyn! Thanks so much - especially for all the trouble that you and Gordon had in getting it to the museum.
This is the kind of help that warms one's heart. :)
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Metal, Paper, Grass and Paint

Our summer staff always has a variety of tasks.
This year we hired two boys who are working with Lloyd. They are manufacturing metal wheelchair ramps.
One by one our museum buildings are becoming wheelchair accessible. No grants - it was too much trouble to attempt the application in which we may not be successful. Instead we have a dedicated volunteer who has researched and designed the ramps, found reasonably priced sturdy material and taught two young men how to weld. And they have produced very good ramps. 
The abundant rain has filled the campground and made the weeds and grass grow. It is a challenge to keep it tidy. Glad to have Bob back to help out with the mowing.
The girls are busy cleaning, making signage, painting and moving items to the Duvall house. The countdown is on to the grand opening on August 13th. Today we moved a cupboard and hutch that has resided in my mother-in-law's shop for several years where it awaited its new home in the Duvall House kitchen.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child

We had a group of Grade One and Kindergarten children tour our museum this spring. One of the popular artifacts was the typewriter.
They had absolutely no idea what it was. They could make the connection of the QUERTY keyboard and a computer keyboard. After that they had no clue. Once they realized that the keys could be pushed to produce a letter on the paper directly without pushing 'print', they were lining up to have a go at it.
Interesting how just a few years has relegated the once popular tool to obscurity.
The hands on activities were definitely a hit with this age group. Trying to think up other similar activities that are safe, educational, and relatively inexpensive to design is a challenge.
I'll think on it over the winter.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mother Nature Causes Museum Repairs

Hail has broken windows and the campground has been swamped (more than once) but this is minor as everything is beautiful and green. Saskatchewan is blooming from all the moisture this year.
We are working to have the Duvall House ready for the grand opening on August 13th. More about the event later.
The weekend saw an family reunion (Busch) and wedding photos in Tomahawk Park.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 1st Celebration

The sun shone on Tomahawk Park for Canada Heritage Day for another year.
It was a perfect day - weather wise! There was a good crowd. Hope everyone had a great time.
Entertainment by Back of the Bus in the evening was wonderful.
And of course the fireworks looked awesome over the waters of the pond.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Activity at the Museum

There has been so much going on at the museum.
Construction projects:
There are two new beautiful flagpoles in Elizabeth's garden. They proudly fly the Canada and Saskatchewan flag. Great work, Lloyd.
The office area is under construction, but will be finished by Canada Day. John has been hard at work at this project. What an improvement.
The Station Office and Gallivan School entrance has been painted by Marcy and Work Experience crew.
Offsite a group has been hard at work to make some items for our Sales Shop. Check them out on Canada Day.
Preparations for Canada Day - Marcy has worked hard to make the Carnival fresh and interesting.
We have had several tours from the local schools. Thanks to Walter for last minute guiding assistance.
New staff will have an orientation session today.
Park Maintenance:
With all the rain, the grass keeps Bob busy. Also Marcy has been using the trimmer to keep things tidy. As well, the town has been mowing the outer areas - well done everyone.

And there has been a wedding (or almost) in the park. The weather (and probably mosquitoes) caused them to move indoors, but photos were taken in the park later.

Rain Results

The campground is once again under water. It is most frustrating. The problem has existed since before I was involved with the museum. So difficult to market a place that can't be rented out if it rains.
This time we'll see if anything is done.
Apathy can choke enthusiasm.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Voice and Faces of 1885

Announcing our new exhibit for the 125th anniversary of the 1885 Resistance Events.
"A Voice and Faces of 1885" which showcases the audio interview that Clayton McLain made with Osecape who witnessed the Battle of Cut Knife Creek and the photographs that Clayton collected of participants in the 1885 events. These include: Fineday, Flying Eagle, Harry Atcheynum, Solomon Pritchard, Sam Swimmer and others.
Also are other photos that are in our collection of local First Nations people.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Next time I paint anywhere I am going to insist upon drop sheets. (You'd think I'd have learned this lesson by now!)
Noreen and I spent a whole day trying to get the paint off the new flooring at Ovenstown. It was the primer - they aren't kidding when they say it will adhere. Most is off and it looks great.
I picked up the countertop laminate today. Was happy that it could be rolled so it fit into my vehicle.
We are going to have a very nice office/reception area. Phew! Just in time for visitors.
Now if only some of the other buildings were visitor-ready too!
Much to do, so little time!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1885 Resistance- 125 Years Later

Looking forward to hearing Sask Historian, Bill Waiser, speak about the events of 1885 tomorrow nite at the Cut Knife Elks Theatre (7 pm). Hope to see you there.
This 125th anniversary of the 1885 events is being acknowledged throughout the western provinces. From Frog Lake , Frenchman Butte, and Fort Pitt to Fort Battleford, Duck Lake, Fish Creek, Batoche, Humboldt Telegraph, to Stony Mountain Peniteniary and others in between. Check out the Trails of 1885 website for more details.
The Year of the Metis is also being celebrated this year in Sask.
So many great things going on right here in Saskatchewan.
Closer to home, Poundmaker Historical Center will be the center of a re-enactment of the Battle of Cut Knife Creek on July 2nd.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Looking for Railroad Stories and Photos

We are working on our Cut Knife Railroad Exhibit. If you have stories/memories about railroads in the Cut Knife area, we would love to hear them and incorporate them into our display. Also photos of the Station area or trains are also welcome.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

We are waterlogged.
Sloshing through water in the park. Campground is flooded.
Our old buildings are springing leaks everywhere. is not all bad cause the work experience kids and Marcy have been busy cleaning and painting.
A new light fixture installed thanks to Richard.
The shelving is going up in the closet. On Monday we should be able to clean out the mess in the exhibit area of Ovenstown. Yay!
The floor and window sills can be refinished in the Duvall House.
The Weikle-Busch family were busy this weekend and finished painting in the Children's room.
The Dining Room has had some work done on it thanks to the Knights of Columbus.
The end is in sight.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Much to do before opening date!

We are in the midst of a number of construction projects and the days are going by too fast.
Our office area is having a major upgrade - new flooring, storage area, new reception desk and work area.
And window panes are falling out of the 100 year old windows. :(
The Duvall House just needs a few more areas completed and then we begin the move of artifacts to displays.
The Station office area has a new exciting window display, but also needs a paint job.
Then a display set up.
The archives building and windows are being painted and fixed.
And this great weather is bringing out the tourists - not easy to say no to giving tours, but we are in such a mess at the moment. Sorry...
Sometimes volunteering can be stressful.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Duvall House Cleaning Bee

A volunteer group met at the Duvall House today to work on woodwork and upstairs floors.
As well a group of Grade 10 Work Experience boys also helped out with this and other jobs at the museum. Each year we are most grateful to have these young people come and spend time doing work for us. We are also grateful to Marcy for organizing the crew.
The woodwork still needs some more work but having the water turned on in the washrooms now means that we won't have to haul water so far! Yay! Also bathroom breaks are a bit simpler.
Nasty pigeons left a lasting legacy of 'you know what' for us to deal with as the windows were broken in the house before we moved it to the museum site. Lots of water and elbow grease are our weapons against the acidic droppings.
Sure hope we can have the building ready for a grand opening this year.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Just when we thought we were having fun!

The snow this weekend has turned to water and turned up in our basement at the museum.
Thank goodness we were able to pump it out promptly.
The flooring has been installed in the entrance area - looking good!
This weekend we'll be in the Duvall House finishing up the woodwork.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Storm

The storm this week brought welcome moisture for our neighbouring farms but left our museum with yet another building issue. The store roof lost some shingles and has sprung a leak.
Our heritage buildings are beautiful but need constant upkeep. This is a big expense for the museum's budget. Especially this year as we had already prioritized the roof of the Station as needing replacement.
This will push back other improvements that were planned in the Exhibits.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Inspection

This year's museum walk through was so much more pleasant because it was warm! Usually we are shivering as we go through the buildings that have been closed all winter.
We looked at what needs fixing, the new plans for exhibit areas, and then prioritized them all.
For the past several years we have been working to have our buildings wheelchair accessible. This year will bring some more improvements in this area.
Our heritage buildings need constant upgrading and repairs. This bites into our budget. A new roof for the Freight shed on the Station will be this year's focus as well as a bunch more painting.
There are lots of plans for exhibit changes. Hopefully we'll be able to finish some of them this summer.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Plans and more plans

Strategic planning, Business plans, Marketing plans...
Boy, I should have taken some Commerce classes years ago in university. Not I'd probably remember that much, but at least the terminology wouldn't be so foreign.

Check out our internet site.

I've changed the look. What do you think?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Learning About Standards

Board members and course instructors at yesterday's Standards for Boards Course by the Museums Association of Saskatchewan. A good mix of new and old board members attended and studied the Standards Manual and how to use it. Thanks Gwen and Crystal for your expertise and sharing of knowledge.
Having the Trade Fair in town allowed us a chance to break at noon for a good meal and a glimpse of what the vendors had to offer.
Also thanks to the Good Shepherd Church in Cut Knife for the use of their overhead projector for the day.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

MAS Standards for Boards Course

Saturday will find us at the MAC with Gwen and Crystal presenting the MAS Standards Course. Although we have had that Standards Book available for years, it is always good to review and fill in the missing information. Sure hope the old and new Board Members see the benefits that giving up a Saturday will bring. Being better informed should make for an even better Board experience and hopefully, improved museum.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2010 Annual Meeting

Our annual meeting was held last night. Not a bad turn out, but one always hopes for more to attend.
The process of evaluating what was accomplished in the previous year is a good thing to do. It is makes one realize that the museum is going forward, improving in small steps, and increasing visitation numbers. One needs to ignore that long list of what needs to be done, at least for one night.
We said goodbye to two Board Members who have served out their terms.
Rena Weikle, who was our capable Secretary, provided a knowledgeable and level-headed presence. We appreciate all that she brought, especially her quick-witted humor!
Sandra Favel Rewerts' help when we constructed our Repatriation Policy was invaluable. Sandra's ability to see the whole picture in a situation will be missed.
Sandra and Rena, you are both welcome at the museum board table at any time.
We are lucky to have two very capable new members to take their positions. We look forward to the new perspectives that Cathy Hewson and Janice Duvall will bring.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What I learned...

Home and weary. Brain overload. But still looking forward to implementing some of what I have learned.
That Fish Philosophy works. I tried it out twice this week.
Have Fun, Engage your customer, Be there, and Choose your attitude.
I was tired at the Exhibit Design course and feeling more than a little sorry for myself. My mind was not on what it should have been. Then I made a conscious decision to have fun, to pay attention, and to be positive. Other people didn't have a problem, I did. And I fixed it.
What a difference it made to my day. Hopefully others enjoyed being around me more.
By the way, I learned quite a bit about Exhibit Design too. Great course.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Courses, of course

A week of learning for me. Beginning with a three day Tourism Saskatchewan course on Tourism Training in Saskatoon and ending with MAS Exhibit Design course in Lloydminster. My poor hubby has to batch!
The week started out a little shaky as I was sick. Managed to still attend with the aid of Tylenol. Don't know how much I learned. Will have to review the notes! Excellent course. It is also great to network with other types of tourism within Sask, such as: Mainstay Inn at the Palliser Regional Park on Diefenbaker Lake, Duck Lake Regional Intepretive Center, Petrofka Bridge Orchard at Waldeim, SK, Honeywood Heritage Nursery of Parkside, SK, and Elk Ridge Resort.

As usual these courses make me realize that there is much to learn and do.
It is exciting to envision what could be...
With plans to make it happen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back at it.

After taking a holiday from museum stuff ... well, not really, as we went to several awesome museums such as the Heard in Phoenix and the Arizona State Museum in Tucson. I took pictures and came home with some new ideas. Now I am ready to get back to our museum business.