Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Two Perspectives

St. Albert Parish with Father Lacombe statue
A few weeks ago, maybe more, back when November still had sunny skies and reasonable temperatures, I visited Mission Hill and the St. Albert Parish Cemetery, just north of Edmonton. St. Albert was founded in 1861 by Father Lacombe, a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) and a well-known figure in Alberta history. Surprisingly enough, there’s a connection between this suburban Parish and the 1885 North West Resistance.

The Resistance, or Rebellion, consisted of a series of events involving communities all across the prairies. Most of these locations are now designated Historical Sites; they've received the appropriate signage and are maintained for visitors. It’s easy to forget, though, as time passes that the historical personalities we talk about today were once real people.  The North West Territories were their home and, although they figured into the larger story of The West, they also lived to create stories of their own.

Fort Battleford National Historic Site - Enactment
Fort Battleford National Historic Site - Jail in Foreground

The photos in this post were taken over the last few years and are from a number of the event sites in west central Saskatchewan and Alberta. The onsite interpretive plaques always place the location within its historical context; the signage always connects the events that happened there to the Resistance. It’s very clear that these communities, and the people within them, played an active part in the life of the NWT. 

Battle of Poundmaker Hill National Historic Site - Grave
Frog Lake National Historic Site - Graves, NWMP in Foreground

Two Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Pѐre Léon Fafard and Pѐre Felix Marchand, died during the 1885 Frog Lake Massacre in northeastern Alberta. Originally, these two priests were buried in Frog Lake but their remains have since been transferred to the Oblate cemetery on Mission Hill in the city of St. Albert, 200 kilometres away. In many cases, history records them, and all the others, simply as casualties of the 1885 North West Resistance but, to their families and to their community, they’re also remembered as men whose stories ended all too soon.

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate - Cemetery

Monday, October 27, 2014

Museums 101: The 2014 Version

Last Friday morning, John, a fellow CMMM Trustee, and I were on our way into North Battleford for the Museums Association of Saskatchewan (MAS) course, Museums 101, and wondering what-the-heck had we gotten ourselves into? Hosted by the Allen Sapp Gallery, the workshop was scheduled to be a 6 - 7 hour presentation based upon a 120 page, coiled, policy handbook. Not the most exciting subject matter, to be sure, but, boy, were we pleasantly surprised!

Dan Holbrow (standing) and Kim Houghtaling (seated)
Kim Houghtaling, Curator of the Art Gallery of Swift Current, and our MAS Representative, Dan Holbrow, led us through the material in a series of PowerPoints, readings and round-table discussions. Houghtaling was a great moderator and, almost effortlessly, synthesized the information presented by the group leaders. Holbrow showed us, time and again, how MAS had the resources to help with many of the situations our museums encounter. Our surroundings were enlivened by beautiful artwork; we were served lots of good food during our breaks and we were able to connect with other museum professionals.

And, that’s probably one of the more interesting things we learned from the course: When our volunteer-driven museum follows the procedures and protocols set out in the Standards for Saskatchewan Museums, we become professionals; our museum is seen to be managed in a professional manner. The CMMM has already incorporated many of these standards into its operations and we have our Curator, Lucille, to thank for that!

I also spoke to representatives from the Melfort and Sturgis Museums, from the Allen Sapp Gallery and from the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in Battleford. We shared tips on preserving heritage buildings; commiserated with each other about the agonies of grant writing and realized, no matter the age of the building, there will always be pests to control. I confess I’m taking away much more than I’d anticipated and, in the process, have met some wonderful people that I’m looking forward to seeing, again.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ladies, It’s Your Turn!

October 25th is less than three weeks away! So, put away the jeans, let your families fend for themselves for the evening and come out for CMMM’s 2nd Annual Ladies’ Night Out. Walk the red carpet in disguise or dressed to the Nines. The choice is yours!

Last year’s event holds a lot of good memories for those who attended. The Baldwinton Hall was the scene of the crime, oops, location of the fundraiser and, of course, a heavy snow descended just prior to the event. This meant a scramble to clear the parking lot for red carpet arrivals but, as they say in the biz:  The show must go on.

And, go on, it did. A great meal was served; amazing entertainment catered to the ladies; there were prize-winning costumes and laughter rocked the hall till midnight. Rumour has it that two, count ‘em, two limousines were hired by guests for the evening. If you missed the fun in 2013, mark a star on your calendar for Saturday, October 25th. This year, we’re coming to Cut Knife.

The Jolly Roger Banquet Hall in Cut Knife will host the Clayton McLain Memorial Museum’s 2nd Annual Hollywood-themed Ladies’ Gala Evening**.  Details as follows:

Saturday, October 25th
5:30 p.m. – 12 Midnight
at the
Jolly Roger Banquet Hall in Cut Knife
located at the corner of
Steele Street & Battle Avenue
(formerly the Royal Canadian Legion building)
$50 per Diva / Group Table Rates (8) available

For tickets, please contact
Gale 306.398.4064 | Janice 306.398.4713 | Cheryl 306.398.4053 | Lucille 306.398.2619
or purchase at the
Innovation Credit Union

Tickets include Live and Varied Entertainment, Served Meal, Silent Auction, Door Prizes, Best Costume Prizes.

**Note this event is restricted to those 19 years of age and over.