Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It’s Time to Go Back – Way, Way Back – To School!


And just like that, summer is over, and it is time to go back to school. Here at the museum we are also going back to school – way, way back to school in the 1940s! Come visit our new “Old School” Discovery Room, and see how school life was for kids over 60 years ago.


You’ll be able to sit in an old desk facing the “blackboard,” with today’s lessons already written out. You can use a slate to practice arithmetic, reading, and writing – the three R’s. Don’t forget to salute the King and Queen!


Other activities include counting on the abacus, doing a schoolhouse puzzle, making paper dolls, and colouring sheets. We also have old school workbooks for you to take home!


You can also check out our display of old schoolbooks and other things that would be found in a 1940s school, including pen-and-ink. Hanging on the wall are examples of what boys and girls would wear to school each day.


Lastly, take a peek at our new World War I kit, released this year along with our 3 feature exhibits to commemorate the start of the First World War. Try your hand at one of our original educational activities and look at some of the posters and images included in the kit. This kit is available for rent for teachers and other groups. Please visit MuseeHeritage.ca/learning-discovery for more information.

Riiiiiiiinnnnnnggg. That’s the bell! Hurry down to the Musee Heritage Museum before it is too late!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Harvest Festival 2014 -- A great day!


We had a blast hosting Harvest Festival in St. Albert once again, on one of the nicest days we had seen in a week!

Hundreds of people came by to enjoy the sunshine and have some fun, which included a scavenger hunt, kid’s crafts, live music, a beer-sampling garden, mini donuts, a petting zoo, and the requisite grain elevator tours and demonstrations. 

The winners have since been announced for our candy guessing game, so make sure to check your messages when you’re home – and take a look at some of the photos Vino took of the day, below.


Paul Woida wooing the crowd with popular hits

Roy giving a tour of the 1906 grain elevator, demonstrating how the old gas engine powered the elevator

Members of the Edmonton Rug Hooking Guild showing the old-fashioned skill of rug hooking
Visitors at the petting zoo, which included a pony, mini Zebu cow, sheep, pot-bellied pig, ducks, chickens, and guinea pigs
Photo opportunities, in costume, in the 1921 Ford Model-T
 

Making seed art and other grain-related crafts
Trying to figure out the next clue in the SAGE Scavenger Hunt riddle
Thanks to Amanda from the Art Gallery of St Albert for coming out to Harvest Festival! She’s pictured here making a “Scarf for St. Albert” with visitors

The train passed by at just the right time – we couldn’t have planned it better if we wanted it to!

Enjoying a beautiful Alberta day for our annual  Harvest Festival

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brutinel: An extraordinary man comes to life in a new exhibit at the Musée Héritage Museum in St. Albert


There has been recent discussion in the news about the possibility of St. Albert and Edmonton merging their transit systems to create better transportation options between our cities. 

In light of this, wouldn't it be interesting to take a look at the man who created an interurban railway line between St. Albert and Edmonton more than 100 years ago? Well, now you can at the Musée Héritage Museum, which is proud to present our new exhibit, Brigadier-General Raymond Brutinel and the Motor Machine Gun Brigade.


Raymond Brutinel came to Alberta from France in 1905. Once in Alberta, he would go on to make many important contributions to the Province and Canada. In addition to developing the Interurban Railway between St. Albert and Edmonton in 1913, he also served as editor of Alberta's first francophone newspaper, Le Courrier de l'Ouest, surveyed routes for the Grand Trunk Railway, and played a significant role in the development of the Coal Branch.


Brutinel's most memorable contribution, however, would come during World War I when he served in the Canadian Army and created the Motor Machine Gun Brigade. This Brigade was a new tactical force in modern warfare and would go on to play a vital role in many significant battles during WWI.  Brutinel continued the fight during World War II when he aided the French resistance.

In addition to the current exhibit, the museum has also published Brutinel's biography, Brutinel: The Extraordinary Story of a French citizen Brigadier-General in the Canadian Army. Available in both English and French, the book takes a closer look into Brutinel's life and includes transcripts of CBC interviews with Brutinel. For more details about the book, please visit http://museeheritage.ca/shop-publications/books/.

The exhibit is open to the public from September 9, 2014 until November 16, 2014. 

Please join us for the official opening reception at the Musée Héritage Museum in St. Albert Place on September 18 at 7pm. We hope to see you there!
rutinel: The extraordinary story of a French citizen Brigadier-General in the Canadian Army by Dominique and Jacques Baylaucq. - See more at: http://museeheritage.ca/exhibits-events/permanent-feature-exhibits/#sthash.Rs20s1Ew.dpuf
Brutinel: The extraordinary story of a French citizen Brigadier-General in the Canadian Army - See more at: http://museeheritage.ca/shop-publications/books/#sthash.osoBMcA5.dpuf
Le Courrier de l’Ouest
Le Courrier de l’Ouest

Friday, September 12, 2014

Harvest Festival 2014 is Sunday September 14!



Now that it is fall (or is it?), it is time for our annual Harvest Festival at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park taking place from 11am-5 PM on Sunday, September 14, 2014. 

A big draw this year is a farm animal petting zoo from Horse Sense, which will include a mini cow, pony or donkey, pig, sheep, chickens, and more! Kids crafts will commemorate your visit with the animals and harvest time. A brain-teasing scavenger hunt (with prizes!) will be a challenge for the whole family. The weaving, rug hooking and quilting guilds will be in attendance to demonstrate their talents, some of which you can try, too. Barbequed hot dogs from the Arts and Heritage Foundation and donuts and popcorn from Go Nuts Donuts will be available for sale and you can enjoy the food while listening to live music or tasting some Alley Kat Beer in our beer garden. 

Lastly, take a tour in one of our grain elevators – even if you’ve been before, you are sure to learn something new!
Harvest Festival 2013

Harvest Festival 2013

Harvest Festival 2013

Harvest Festival 2013

Monday, September 8, 2014

How I found the definition of Archives through some Aboriginal insight

Hi everyone, this is your resident archivist Vino speaking again. I recently attended the Association of Canadian Archivists annual conference in Victoria, BC in June 2014. The conference was titled "Archivatopia". The conference invited archivists from Canada and around the world to look at the ideal future for archives and how we can go about making this future a reality. This included keynote speakers, sessions with expert panelists, case studies of experiences in different archives around the world, and poster presentations and exhibits.



It's always neat for me to hear the experiences of other archivists. I often get my motivation to try new things in the archives after hearing what others have done. There was some fascinating discussion about what the future holds for the archives, particularly in the digital realm, and how we can go about meeting new challenges. It was also nice to have people outside the archives field speak, in order to get an outsider's perspective of the archives.

There were many highlights from this conference, but the one that sticks out the most was a story I heard at one of the sessions. The session was called "Looking Toward the Future: Aboriginal Archives in Canada and the United States". One of the panelists at this session was Sherry Lawson, Administrator of Heritage Services with the Chippewas of Rama First Nation near Orillia, Ontario.

I found Sherry to be very different from the other speakers at the conference. She didn't use a microphone and stood more near the centre of the panel table, rather than at the podium. And she had the room laughing a lot. She spoke from her experience as the daughter of an Algonquian mother and Ojibway father, who is now trying to look after archival materials from her community.

She addressed a question I have had for a long time. How the heck do you define an archives? Is it a building? Are they records? Here's the definition of an archive from Wikipedia, which seems to be the first point of reference for many now, "An archive is an accumulation of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of that person or organization." I've seen other similar definitions over the years. But I have always found it too mechanical to define archives.

When Sherry talked about asking her grandmother if there was any word for archives in their culture her grandmother laughed before she replied "no".   But, her grandmother did come to a word that she felt was close to what archives should mean. Sherry didn't say the aboriginal word, but gave us the translation of what archives should mean, so here it is: "Hold onto our stories until our grandchildren are ready to hear them". When I heard this, I just went "yeah, that's it". That's exactly it. It encompasses everything an archives is about. Archives are simply stories that are waiting to be heard. Now, there is a lot of work that goes into making sure those stories can be heard, but that, in essence, is what an archives is about.

So the next time someone asks "What is an archives?" Sherry's definition would be a great answer and I hope people will remember this meaningful aboriginal definition of an archive. Thanks Sherry!

Vino V.