Thursday, March 19, 2015

St. Paddy’s Day at the Musée!

   March 14th, 2015 at the Musée Héritage Museum was an early celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and more than forty people joined us for the festivities!  The celebration included traditional Irish music; an Irish legend about the Pooka (a shape-shifting spirit), a pot of gold craft and a rainbow mosaic craft, after all what’s a Leprechaun’s pot of gold without a rainbow!  
   All of this was topped off with an Irish party game called “Flap the Kipper.”  What in the world is “Flap the Kipper?” Well
  • First, you make a paper fish (a kipper) and decorate it brightly.  
  • Then you set out two lines on the ground: start and finish.  
  • Each player puts his or her kipper on the starting line.  
  • Using rolled up newspapers, you beat the floor behind your kipper and the blasts of air from the newspaper hitting the floor, makes your kipper jump forward.  
  • The kipper that reaches the finish line first is the winner. 
Flap the kipper is really silly, but a whole lot of fun!

Why is St. Patrick’s Day important in St. Albert?  Well…some of our most prominent historical figures were Irish! Here are some of the stories about Irish families in St. Albert.

The Métis Cunningham family has been in St. Albert since the very beginning. Patrick Cunningham emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1812.  It was his son, John, who moved the Cunningham clan to what would become Alberta in the early 1840s.  John’s son Sam served as a local politician, and leader of the St. Albert Mounted Rifles.

Local farmer Dan Maloney, who settled out west in the 1870s, led the charge to save St. Albert’s river lots in the 1880s from the Dominion Land Survey, along with Father Leduc.  John Maloney, Dan’s father, emigrated from Limerick, Ireland in the 1830s, settling in Ontario.

William Cust came to North America from Derry County, Ireland in the 1820s.  He first settled in the US, and came to Alberta in the 1860s.  According to the Edmonton Bulletin in the 1870s, Cust was the first person in Alberta to grow wheat for commercial purposes.

Michael and Edward Hogan came to Alberta around 1900.  Edward served as a town councilor and school board member for fifteen years; while Michael would become St. Albert’s longest serving mayor, from 1919 to his death in 1943: 24 years!  The Hogan brothers’ father immigrated to Ontario from Ireland in the mid-1800s.

Other Irish families that figure prominently in St. Albert’s history include Flynn, Cassidy, Gibson, Kennedy, and Donahue.  And that’s just a few!  Many Canadians have Irish roots, which is one of the reasons St. Patrick’s Day is such a popular occasion in our community as well as many others around the country!

Friday, March 13, 2015

February Round-up: Community Programs

February 2015 was a busy month at the Musée Héritage Museum and Heritage Sites! 

Family Day bookmark making with the AGSA at the Little White School
  Community programs took place at the Museum, St. Albert Grain Elevator Park, and as outreach programs at local schools and seniors homes.  Below is a recap of some of our community programs in February.
St. Albertans took to the hills – Seven Hills – for tobogganing on Family Day, dropping by the Little White School for hot chocolate and cookies and a “craft break” with the Art Gallery of St. Albert.
Other events in February included;

  • Weddings and family photos at the train station, a serene winter setting for smaller gatherings.
  • Cubs and Scouts groups at the museum to do their Aboriginal Awareness and Canadian Heritage badges – what could be a better location for these badges than a museum? 
  • A local seniors home, and a North Edmonton school, borrowed some of our portable Education Kits and had programmers Tori and Sharon come out to talk about St. Albert’s history, using objects, photos, and information from the kits to connect to their own experiences. 
  • A University of Alberta student joined us for a day to "job shadow"  and learn about the different jobs that exist in a museum. 
  • Student teachers, preparing for their practicums, came out for the fourth year in a row to learn more about the Metis of Alberta and gain an understanding of their history in the province.                                                                             

Mayor Crouse trying out birch bark biting

With the new Exhibition, Wus’kwiy/ Waskway: From Berry Baskets to Souvenirs, we brought in guest instructor Holly Yuzicapi to teach birch bark biting and birch bark basket making using contemporary materials.

Making birch bark baskets 

Birch bark bitings using transfer paper
If you’re interested in booking a community program with the Musée Héritage Museum, check out our website or contact the Program Manager at 780-459-1528. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Musée Héritage Museum photo on display in the new curling exhibit at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

The 2015 Tim Horton's Brier is currently taking place in Calgary, Alberta.
To celebrate the opportunity to host this event, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary has a new curling exhibit called Sweeping to Success: Stories of Canadian Curling. Canada's Sports Hall of Fame has gathered artifacts and photographs, from many different halls of fame and museums across Canada, for this exhibition which is open until June 2015.

Hector Gervais' sweater in the Musée Héritage Museum collection. Includes badges from the Canadian Championship of 1961 and 1974, the 1961 World Championship in Scotland (Scotch Cup), and the 1974 World Championship in Bern, Switzerland

The Musée Héritage Museum is proud to have provided a photograph of St. Albert, Alberta curler Hector Gervais and the 1961 winning team of the Scotch Cup. If you are in the Calgary area, be sure to check out this photo on display along with many other photos and memorabilia covering the great history of curling in our country.

Drop by the Musée Héritage Museum in St. Albert if you are interested in knowing more about Hector Gervais, or to take a look at our own collection of curling related artifacts and archival materials.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wesakechak and the Birch Trees: A Métis Legend

On the blog today is a special preview of the story Wesakechak and the Birch Trees, this rendition is a Métis legend as told by Celina Loyer, with illustrations by Jessie Loyer©. 

Read through the first two pages of the story, then visit the Musée Héritage Museum’s Discovery Room to read the rest of the story and find out exactly how birch trees got those black markings on their bark!  

Based on the information revealed in the first two pages of the legend how do you think the Birch Trees received those black markings all over their white bark?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

‘On the Road Again,’ with the Musee Heritage Museum!

What if a teacher is not able to bring his, or her, students on a field trip to the Musée Héritage Museum in St. Albert?  No worries – we’ll bring the field trip to your classroom!

At the Musée, we have been offering outreach programs for years and it is a really important part of what we do.  Inviting a programmer to visit your classroom means that teachers and students have the opportunity to look closely at museum objects, learn something new and share their knowledge with a museum professional, all in the comfort of their own classroom space.

Outreach programs are great for the programming team at the Musée, too.  We enjoy getting out to visit other places, meet new people, and experience the varied environments at different school.  We regularly provide outreach programs in St. Albert schools, Edmonton schools, and even schools in communities further afield, such as Ft. Saskatchewan, Barrhead, Buck Lake, Spruce Grove and Sherwood Park.

 In these photos, one of our Aboriginal programmers, Celina, leads the ‘I Belong’ education program with Mrs. Buchanan’s kindergarten students at the Ellerslie Campus in Edmonton.  Celina has been doing programs at the Musee for more than five years now, and is definitely one of the best when it comes to working with the pre-school and kindergarten children. 

Native drumming is an important part of the ‘I Belong’ program in which children make their own paper drums, and decorate them with important animals of their own choosing.  Once the drums are complete the children join our programmer, who uses a traditional hand drum, and the children drum along with their paper ones.  The program is a lot of fun for everyone and it helps to teach the children about belonging and about the First Nations and Metis cultures.

For more information about outreach programming with the Musée Héritage Museum please go to our website at