Thursday, April 14, 2011

Articulture in St. Albert

Partnership between Musée Héritage Museum and Michif Cultural and Resource Institute:

We were excited to partner with Michif Cultural and Resource Institute for Articulture. On April 9, a number of people came out to learn beadwork at the Musée.  In keeping with the early Métis heritage of St. Albert we would like to offer more workshops on beadwork within St. Albert.

MJ instructing the class


At the Musée Héritage Museum we offered a small beading project inspired by our Métis Bead Work exhibit.  For a small fee participants learned to bead a small Wild Rose brooch.  This workshop will be offered again.

At 10 Meadowview lane (the oblate house) the Michif Institute will offer traditional Rattle Making.  For a small fee participants would learn how the ancient ones made rattles for ceremony and for their babies.
Pattern for Fire Bag

These two courses would be run simultaneously for afternoon programming. The date is TBA.

There should be an age limit with these teachings; the participant should be 10 years of age and over.

Submitted by Sharon Morin
Lead Aboriginal Programmer

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Musée Héritage Museum Seeking Anyone with Memory of Local Eastern European Families

As part of a new historical research project, Musée Héritage Museum is looking for residents familiar with several Polish, Russian and Ukrainian families from St. Albert and area to help with the preservation of an important aspect of St. Albert’s history.
The Musée’s latest project is researching the history of the Polish, Ukrainian and Russian communities of St. Albert. Throughout the 1900s people from these countries settled in St. Albert and area and helped enrich the community. Polish Oblate Fathers brought in by Bishop Vital Grandin helped develop the community in the 1890s and 1910s, and people like Marie Wolniewicz (who taught at the Brick School for 40 years), the Hauptman’s (who ran the popular Bruin Inn and Sweetheart Jewellers), and Mary Sernowski, who worked at the St. Albert and Edmonton markets for 40 years, have all helped enrich the social, cultural and economic life of St. Albert.
Eventually a written history, a new educational program and online exhibit will be produced that will document these important families. These will help bring attention to an important part of St. Albert’s history that has only recently been examined in detail.
We are looking for as much information as possible about the following pioneering families:  Banack (Banach), Bondarevich, Douziech, Hauptman, Klak, Luszczewski, Martyna, Meleshko, Muszczynski, Poloway, Popow, Pudlowski, Romanko, Sernowski, Skrobot, Soloduk, Wachowicz, Wolniewicz, and Zyha.
If you, or anyone you know, grew up in or around St. Albert and is either related to or has information about these families and their history, we are interested in speaking to you.  The stories you relate to us are important to how we write and portray the unique history of these families and St. Albert itself. In order to present the most complete story possible, a continual search is also underway for any photographs, documents, or artifacts related to these families and their farms, gardens and businesses, from any year or decade. 

If you would like to help enrich and preserve the history of St. Albert and area, and ensure that this important history will be preserved for future generations of St. Albert residents, students, and scholars, please contact the Museum at the following address:

Ann Ramsden or Rene Georgopalis:                       
Musée Héritage Museum                                             
5 St. Anne Street T8N 3Z9                                         
(780) 459-1528

Or contact the historical researcher directly:
Michal Mlynarz: (780) 907-6126  

Anna Chevigny and her daughter Marie Wolniewicz, 1930s.
Photograph courtesy Musée Héritage Museum, St. Albert Historical Society fonds.

Marie Wolniewicz was born in Poland in 1900, and moved to St. Albert by 1907. For four decades she worked in the St. Albert school system, teaching generations of children from the community.

Mary Sernowski and her son Victor, early 1900s.
Photograph courtesy of Musée Héritage Museum, St. Albert Historical Society fonds.

Mary Sernowski was born in Ukraine in 1907 and arrived in Canada in 1928. From 1934 until she passed away at the age of 90, she delivered her garden produce to city markets in St. Albert and Edmonton.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring-Cleaning and Donations

Spring is here, and many of us begin our spring-cleaning at this time of year.  Spring-cleaning as well as moving are times when the Musée receives donations.  So we thought to discuss donations.

If you decide to give us something you feel is valuable for the Musée, please come talk to us.  Joanne, the curator, can give you information about artifacts – so things like clothing, house wares, jewellery, tools and equipment, statuettes, etc.  Rene, the archivist, can help you with any recorded information you have – things like old photographs, scrapbooks, ledgers, letters, electronic files, etc.  But please talk to us.  We have had people abandon things at the front door of the museum or at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park.  When things are abandoned, we really do not know what to do with them.  An important part of building our collection depends on the stories that come with the artifacts and archives.

We have an example of someone abandoning objects at the Musée.  One morning in August 2006, museum staff found a box of African artifacts left at the door of the museum.  Here are photographs of a few of the items…

We have no idea what the history of these items are, where they came from, the value of the objects or who dropped them off. We tried to get information on the objects by putting advertisements out in the newspapers.  Attempts were made to donate the items to other museums whose collecting mandate could include African objects.  Without any information about the abandoned items, no institutions wanted them.  So, nearly four years later, the pieces sit at the museum and we are unable to do anything with them.  And, the artifacts are not suited to our collecting mandate, unless they are somehow linked to St. Albert’s story – we just don’t know!

How does the Musée decide whether or not we add a donation to our collection?

When you come to donate items to the Musée, we will gather information from you to help us decide whether or not your items fit our collection policy.  We collect items that pertain to St. Albert and region.  Various other factors are considered as well.  Some questions include… Is the donation unique? Do we already have this item in our collections? Do we have the resources to care of the donation? In what physical state is the donation? Are there any restrictions on the donation making it impossible for the public to use?

After you meet with us, a committee meets and makes the decision on whether or not to add the donation to the collections. If we feel the donation is better suited for another institution, we will help the donor make that connection. When items are accepted we send the donor a letter to let them know that the donation has been added to the collections.

What happens to a donation after it is accepted?

Once the committee decides to accept a donation, we catalog information about the object and/or archival materials.  We then take necessary measures to ensure that the new addition to the collection will last for as long as possible – we slow down any deterioration by preserving items to the best of our ability.  Once the information is cataloged, we can make the new addition to the collections available for public use. Yes, the public can see what is in our collections, just ask us!

So, while you are spring-cleaning and thinking about donating to a museum and/or archives, keep us in mind - we would love to see and learn the stories of your treasures.