Sunday, October 2, 2011

Culture Day, "Christmas in October"

Our Culture Day on Saturday, Oct 1st was a great success.
Christmas is one time of the year when there is a focus on family and culture. Whether one is Christian or not, or from an aboriginal or immigrant background, the season brings a feeling of good will.
Religious holidays, food, music, dress, and ceremonies create a rich link to other parts of the world. We wanted to celebrate Cut Knife's founding cultures through the magic of Christmas.
Thanks to Roger and Colin Emberley for their wonderful ethnic music , the Ukranian culture presenters (Mary Ramsay, Jean Carlton, Bill Rak, and Ethel Rak), the Italian presenter (Emily Hardy), the Norwegian presenter (Catherine Hewson), and the French presenters (Joan Veikle and Gisele Brackenbury).
The atmosphere in the Duvall House was truly full of the Christmas spirit. Visitors enjoyed sampling wonderful ethnic dishes, listening to soothing Christmas music, and seeing the displays of museum Christmas artifacts. And no one missed the snow.
Now what cultures should we highlight next year?

Our thanks to Sask Culture for their support of our Culture Day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sites Mapping Adventure

One of my projects for the upcoming Cut Knife Centennial Celebration in 2012 is a map and GPS locations of the one room school sites and other landmarks in the area.
The day before yesterday, Bonnie Ramsay, Noreen Bullerwell and I went on a 200 mile journey armed with history books, maps, camera, a Garmin, and a little patience.
We headed to Rockhaven first, such a pretty little village. From there we headed east, north, west, south, and then back north and east again. 36 sites later, interspersed with lunch paid by a nephew (who called us 'the old girls'- not funny), a coffee stop in the Baldwinton area (because our union insists upon coffee breaks), a 'gopher' job for our harvesters (who mistakenly thought that we were were bringing liquid refreshments - sorry!), and a couple of encounters with dogs, we arrived back in Cut Knife, tired but satisfied with the day's efforts. There are several more sites to finish the project off but they won't take too long to do, if someone can tell us exactly where Madawaska school was located.
Now I will add old photos and the new ones that I took and we will have identified these sites for those who can read a map or a GPS device.
There were a few times when we were almost stumped but Bonnie said to look for the caragana trees and sure enough, there was the site. Most school sites had caraganas planted around the yard.
We also had to backtrack from a northerly trail as it changed from a trail to a track through tall grass out in the Baldwinton hills.
Great adventure!
Will post the file on the website when I am finished.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

McInnis Family Reunion

We were pleased to have several family reunions in Tomahawk Park this summer.  Photos can be found on the following link.
McInnis Family Reunion Photos

Thanks to Jean for sharing them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tomahawk Visitors

The tomahawk attracts many visitors and usually a photo. Yesterday visiting archivists were no different. However, my Blackberry's camera does not take good photos. Yes, it really is them!

Jane Dalley (Dalley-Froggatt Heritage Conservation Services, Winnipeg) and Cameron Hart (Sask Archives and Archivists Advisor) were visiting our archives and museum.
We are very fortunate to have had both professionals here to advise us on establishing our archives so we can make our special collections more accessible to everyone.
Thanks, Jane and Cam!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer, Beautiful Summer

The summer has been a lovely one. Early mornings are bright with sunshine and promise of warm enticing afternoons.
The museum is humming along with a hired manager this year. It is so nice to have someone look after the everyday running of it. Our two student staff members have also been very busy re-finishing hardwood floors in our buildings. The buildings look great! And it helps to freshen up the smell in them too.
Time gets eaten up at the museum.
Every time I go to the museum to try and get a project completed, something else presents itself that needs immediate attention.
Yesterday was no exception. I was going to put up the curtains in the living room of the Duvall House, but needed an innovative fix for the period curtain rod that I wanted to use. I went looking in all the nooks and crannies that things hide there and made a hair-raising discovery that had nothing to do with hanging window coverings. Exciting, hair-raising discovery.
Very significant, historical tapes that I had no idea were on the museum site.
More on this later. Suffice it to say that the past keeps popping up in Clayton's Collection. What insight he had in the research that he did 40 to 50 years ago.
Now back to the curtains that need some sewing adjustments for length and I still don't have a fix for the rod. Gonna have to work on my sewing and carpentry skills. Or better yet, volunteer recruitment?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Playing in the Mud a.k.a. Tufa Course

Some crafts are more fun than others. I really enjoyed mixing the cement, peat moss, sand and water and then smushing (is that a word?) into my chosen form.
The only downer is that one has to wait to see the final results. I figure if it will hold dirt and some succulent plants, I don't really care what it looks like.

This was our first craft course that we offered at the museum. Although there were not all that many there, I think it was a success. I enjoyed the diverse age groups that were involved.
Having it on a Saturday and the Saturday that the North Battleford Craft Show may have kept some people away.
Marcy Holden did a great job of teaching the course. She had everything set up and well researched.

What other courses would appeal to people? Let us know and we'll try and find someone to teach it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tufa Craft Day

Come to the museum and learn how to make a Tufa Plant Container.

Saturday, July 16th from 1pm to 4 pm.
Please register at the museum (398-2345) or in person before July 14th so we know numbers and how many supplies to have on hand. Cost $10/person.
You will need to bring an ice cream pail, rubber gloves, a small shovel (trowel), a mixing basin or bin.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Gordon Tootoosis (1941-2011)

Our condolences to the family of Gordon Tootoosis. Gordon was well known internationally as a talented actor but local people knew him also as an advocate for his culture and a dedicated husband, father and grandfather.

Gordon was a son of John Tootoosis and also a descendant of Yellow Mud Blanket, brother of Poundmaker.

Rest in peace.

Monday, June 13, 2011

School Kids Visit

Friday was a beautiful day in the neighbourhood. The CKES Grade One Students and Kindergarten Students visited the museum. They went on a museum hunt for clues to unscramble a word that was related to "Good Neighbours". The handcar ride was popular. The goose family cooperated and came to the dock where they were fed by the kids. Thanks for coming to visit our museum and park neighbourhood.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spring Walk Through

The CMMM Board had their annual spring walk through the museum, noting what needs to be done and prioritizing the work. I've learned that patience is necessary in waiting for the list to be done. Not that I have any patience, but that it is necessary.
Some improvements have remained on the list for quite a few years. Other emergencies have pushed them down on the list. Or they just get overlooked again and again.
Optimistic Note: Many jobs have been completed and it is easy to forget this when dealing with our old buildings when the list seems to keep growing.
This year the Ovenstown building with its recurring moisture issues caused by the basement has come to the top of the list and stayed. A suggestion was made to move the building off the basement and re-locate it to another space in the park on a cement slab.Very expensive solution.
Other solutions are being discussed as well. Lots of thinking needs to go into this.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teachers Help at Museum and Park

Local teachers, who are out on strike, spent yesterday morning cleaning museum buildings and doing work in the park and around the pond. This was a great way to do some community work and we are so grateful for it all.
It was also an opportunity for the new teachers to spend some time at the museum and park and see what we have to offer. Hopefully we can make more connections in the future.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Old Can Be Challenging

Preserving the past is expensive and time consuming.

Our museum buildings on site are almost entirely heritage buildings. Not declared heritage buildings which means the province recognizes them as such and a new set of rules and regulations are put in place as to how they are preserved. This process has been a deterrent for us for many years. The upside is that we may be eligible for grant monies for upkeep and/or expertise in dealing with the special problems that go along with heritage sites.
We should probably re-visit this path and see if our buildings are eligible and if it would benefit our museum. Anyone have some time to volunteer for this undertaking??? I don't seem to be able to fit in everything I am already committed to doing and the hardworking volunteers by my side are the same. Sigh...

Ovenstown - 1908
Duvall House - 1928
Gallivan School -1919
Raymond Store - 1916
Carruthers United Church - 1926
Bert Martin Cabin - 1920's
Louis Pascoe House (Medical Building) 1905
CPR Station 1912

It is difficult to preserve and exhibit the artifacts when the buildings housing them require so much attention.
Guess our plight is common to all museums with old buildings and for some museums with newer buildings as well.
Tourism and heritage impacts more than just the visitors. Local retail facilities, real estate, and quality of life are all impacted.
Changing the old ways of thinking about museums can be challenging too. But that's for another blog.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Working Towards 2012

2012 is Cut Knife's 100th birthday as a town. There was a settlement before 1912 but this when it became a town.

Our museum is researching the businesses and residences along Broad Street and other older buildings in the town for a walking tour and publication to help celebrate the event.

The committee has spent some time in the old newspapers where it is sooooo easy to become sidetracked because the information is very  interesting. We will need to focus and work more quickly because time may run out when we only go through several years of papers a day!

I have also done some research for individuals who want some geneology information. This too is very time consuming. Would love to have the newspapers digitized. Sigh. Too much work, not enough time or hands to complete it. Anyone interested in helping?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another interesting winter of museum visits

The author spent a month on Vancouver Island where some of the best destinations of course were museums. The Royal BC Museum in Victoria, Comox Air Museum, Nanaimo Museum, Nanaimo Military Museum, Port Alberni Museum, Qualicum Beach Museum, Campbell River Museum, and Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. And yes, there were some we missed! Next time.
As well we visited Milner Gardens at Qualicum Beach. This was a special treat. Don't miss it if you are in the area. My favorite things - a bit of history, a garden, and a beautiful view.
So, I came home with some new ideas for displays as I usually do.
I really love museums. Haven't been to one I that I didn't learn something.
But then I am a little biased.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Logo

It is a new look for our museum. The logo and lead statement "different cultures...prairie neighbours"  encapsulates the stories our museum tells. Our area has such a diverse cultural background. First Nations, French, Ukrainian, Korean, English, Danish, Hutterian Brethren and so on.
Prairie life has produced a culture of its own - part of the Canadian immigrant landscape.
We are continuing to add to our exhibits so that they portray more of these diverse cultures.
Thanks to Stephanie Gilchrist who helped us design the logo.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Museum Secrets

I have watched the History Channel show, Museum Secrets, with great interest. Of course, I'm a bit biased, but I think it is a fascinating show.
I bet that every museum has a 'secret' to tell of an interesting artifact or story from the area. It made me think about small museums and how we could use this premise in attracting visitors.

It's all about making one stand out from the crowd.
At least that's how I see it...

One of our 'secrets' is that there was a gold rush in the Cut Knife (Wardenville) area early in the 20th Century. Come and find out more.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Museum & Archives January Update

We are working on our Archives which is now situated in the MAC (Museum Administration Center). Guess we should include that word Archives in there somewhere. MAAC? Museum Administration & Archives Center??
Right now the archival material is spread around in different buildings behind some rather high snowdrifts. No need to go looking for work though as the MAC has lot of work to keep me busy.
We have recently acquired the Parkinson Pod of photos and family history of the Warden and Parkinson families. Sandy Warden was a member of the NWMP in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The Wardenville District was named after him. Sandy fought in the skirmish at Cut Knife Creek in 1885 and then was Instructor on the Poundmaker and Little Pine reserves in later years. His story is a fascinating one.
I am also beginning work on updating the storage of Clayton's Collection. The McClain family have generously donated many items over the years that help tell the history of the area. When it is properly documented and organized, the public will have more access to these materials.
Please consider visiting the MAC on February 7 for our Archives Open House from 1 to 4 pm. There will be some archival materials for you to look through and information on what an Archives is all about. Coffee and lunch will be served.