Monday, March 31, 2014

Stay-cation at the Musée this Spring Break!

Are you planning a “stay-cation” for this Spring Break? Come down to the Musée for one of our four Spring Break programs! We will be offering 1-hour programs, twice a day, from Tuesday, April 1 – Friday, April 4. Each program is a suggested $2 donation per child participating. Read on below to find out the details of each of these fun-filled programs:
Some of the Aboriginal crafts at the Musée
Tuesday, April 1: Let’s Play! With Toys and Games (10-11 AM and 1-2 PM)
Come in to the Musée Héritage Museum and have some fun making your very own yarn dolls – just like pioneer kids! While we make our yarn dolls, we’ll pass around examples of real toys from the pioneer days. To finish up, we’ll get moving and play some fun games.

Wednesday, April 2: Weaving Together (10-11 AM and 1-2 PM)
Do you want to learn more about St Albert’s Aboriginal heritage? Come to this fun and educational program at the Musée Héritage Museum to learn from one of our knowledgeable Aboriginal Programmers, make a traditional craft and try a bannock snack.

Thursday, April 3: History Hunters (10-11 AM and 1-2 PM)
It’s a history whodunit! Come to the Musée Héritage Museum and help us solve one of St Albert’s oldest crimes. We’ll do a scavenger hunt, picking up clues along the way to put together to complete the puzzle. Solve the case and win a prize!

Friday, April 4: Easter Celebration! (10-11 AM and 1-2 PM)
Join us at the Musée Héritage Museum for an Easter celebration! We will learn all about different ways people celebrate Easter as we make a fun Easter craft. We will end our Easter celebration by reading the story of the Easter Bunny himself.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Drop in and make a Treasure Book!

This Saturday, March 29, we are hosting a special family program at the Musée in conjunction with our new exhibit, Hands on Nature: Discovering Biodiversity!, which officially opens on April 1. To celebrate this new exhibit, and the eventual return of spring, we would like to invite you to come in and make your very own Treasure Books – pocket-sized books made of pockets for collecting all the cool things you might find in your backyard or on nature walks as the snow melts. The program is admission by donation, and will run from 12-3 PM. Come in anytime between 12 and 3 and our Education Programmer Tori will assist you in making a personalized Treasure Book!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Staff Profile: Featuring Roy Toomey

Next up to the plate on our staff profiles is Education Programmer, Roy Toomey.

Roy giving the tour at the St. Albert Grain Elevators during the Harvest Festival in 2013.
As one of the Education Programmers at the Musée Héritage Museum (MHM), I get to do all kinds of interesting things, and work at a variety of great places. I lead programs at the museum, the St. Albert Grain Elevator (SAGE) Park, the Father Lacombe Chapel (FLC), and the Little White School (LWS). I take programs on the road to schools in St. Albert, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Barrhead, and other places in the area; and I also lead programs with more of an adult focus, like historic walking tours. I really enjoy doing all of these programs, though programs at the Heritage Sites are my favourites. 
At the school, I wear a 1940s-esque costume, I have the kids address me as ‘sir,’ I get them to sing ‘God Save the King,’ and I teach what discipline was like in schools in days gone by. It’s interesting to watch the children adhere to the rules. They figure it out pretty quickly, and seem to thrive in that environment. I often have children say things like, “I wish this was my real school.”
Mr. Toomey leads a school program at the Little White School.
I also do a lot of research and writing, as we continually develop programs, education kits, and tours for visitors. I’ve had the opportunity to work with our curator and our archivist on exhibits, especially the 6oth anniversary of the end of the Korean War, and the upcoming 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.  Canadian military history is a great passion of mine, so working on these projects is an honour.
I also get to be a handy-man. I’ve made planter boxes, a gerber spout demo, shelves, a garden gate, etc.  I enjoy doing manual tasks at SAGE when given the opportunity. Being cooped up in an office isn’t my favourite thing, so moving around the sites, giving outdoor tours, gardening, and doing outdoor work on the Chevigny House, for example, are quite enjoyable.
Roy busy making old fashioned snowflakes with our younger visitors during the Snowflake Festival.
I have a Master of Arts degree in History, focusing on Canadian military history, and I have worked in education and museum programming for many years. Before coming to the museum in St. Albert in March 2010, I worked for three years doing education programs at the Exploration Place museum and science centre in Prince George, BC. I received both my BA and my MA at UNBC in Prince George, where I also worked as a TA, leading seminars and giving lectures. I also worked for three summers doing historic interpretation at Heritage Park Museum in Terrace, BC, so in total I have about a decade of official experience in this field.
I grew up on Vancouver Island, and have always had an appreciation for history and museums. I owe much of that to my parents, Rich and Karen, who took me, and my brother, on trips to lots of museums and heritage sites when we were kids. The Royal BC Museum and Ft. Rodd Hill, both in Victoria, BC, are two of my favourite places to visit. In 2002, I drove across Canada, visiting numerous historic sites across our country.  Fortress Louisbourg, on Cape Breton Island, is amazing. Canada has such a rich history, and so many fantastic places to see; experience your own country before going abroad!
Getting back to military history, my passion largely comes from my personal connection. My Pépère served in the Canadian Army in World War II, during the Suez Crisis in the 1950s, and made a career of the army: 27 years! His wife, my Mémère, worked for the Canadian Navy (codes dept.) for about eight years starting in 1941; and several of my great-uncles served in World War II. I have a huge appreciation for our soldiers and what they do. In June 2013  I finally made a ‘pilgrimage’ to Europe to visit Canadian battlefields, memorials, and cemeteries of both World Wars (see my previous blog postings; Pilgrimage of Remembrance Part I, Part II, Part III). I also have a collection of militaria at home, including bayonets, badges, books, and helmets. 
I really am a ‘history nerd.’ I love all history, from ancient and medieval to renaissance, colonial, and modern.  I used to be heavily involved in the UNBC Medieval Culture and Combat Club, for example. It’s all interesting to learn about!  I love to share my passion for history with others. I’m very happy that the Musée Héritage Museum shares my view that museums should be fun, interesting, and accessible to EVERYONE.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Staff Profile: Featuring Tori McNish

Next up on our staff profiles, Tori McNish, Education Programmer.
Tori having fun with the newspaper guy on our cake.
Hi! My name is Tori, and I am the newest Education Programmer at the Musée Héritage Museum. Originally studying contemporary Chinese art history in university, I came to work in a heritage museum in a bit of a roundabout way…

After graduation, I had the opportunity to take part in the Alberta-Smithsonian Internship Program, a work abroad program at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. I was pegged to work on the Ai Weiwei (a contemporary Chinese artist) retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where I was exposed to developing and delivering formal museum education programs for the first time. Upon my return from the United States, I decided to try something a little different, and was offered a job working in education at Fort Edmonton Park – a far cry from interpreting contemporary art! Yet I had a great time “getting back to my roots,” learning about the history of Edmonton and the surrounding area, and sharing this newfound knowledge and enthusiasm with a young audience. So it wasn’t so much of a leap when I started working here, at the Musée.

My main job as a Programmer consists of delivering curriculum-based education programs for students in elementary through high school. I also assist in developing community programs and special events, and in creating interactive content for exhibitions (including our children’s gallery, the Discovery Room). That means I get to create programming materials using Adobe, something I learned through taking visual communications design courses in university.
Tori helping out in the Discovery Room during the Snowflake Festival in 2013.
Outside of my position in programming at the Musée, I spend a good portion of time writing on my own blog, PrairieSeen, which chronicles the visual arts in Edmonton (I guess you could say I have a foot on each side of the fence!) I have also recently applied to do a Masters program in Museum Education, and hope to start working towards that next September.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Come Add Your Mark to Our Community Quilt!

Since the opening of our most recent exhibit, Piece Makers: How Our Grandmothers Re-cycled, we have featured an interactive quilt project in our Discovery Room (children’s gallery). After looking through the exhibit, visitors have the chance to go into the Discovery Room and make their very own quilt square. Many have been adding squares they’ve made to our community quilt, which has grown into a vibrant and colourful “Square in a Square” quilt – but there is still room for more squares!
We would like to invite you down to the Musée to add your mark to our community quilt, and to visit the exhibit before it’s gone. We would like to complete the quilt by the last day of the exhibit, which is Sunday, March 23. So come on down!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Staff Profile: Featuring Merlin Rosser

Continuing with our staff profiles, this week features Merlin Rosser, Heritage Sites Manager.

Merlin, along with Mayor Crouse, at the Harvest Festival last year.
My name is Merlin Rosser, I am the Heritage Sites Manager for the Arts and Heritage Foundation of St. Albert. As an historical archaeologist I really dig historical resources. Other training includes:  heritage conservation, history and education. My responsibilities are to supervise the preservation, restoration, conservation, security and maintenance of St. Albert’s significant heritage buildings and sites under the stewardship of the Arts & Heritage Foundation of St. Albert. At present we have four conservation projects on the go. We are continuing to restore the Chevigny House and will complete the exterior restoration by the end of this summer. We will also be beginning conservation activities on the Hogan House, Cunningham House and the Brosseau Granary this summer. Working in association with the City of St Albert, the restoration of these buildings represents the beginning of Phase II in the development of St. Albert’s Historical Park. In the last few years we have completed the restoration of the Little White School and both of the Grain Elevators. The Little White School house, the Grain Elevators and the Train Station will all be open to the public throughout this coming summer.

Stay tuned as Merlin shares his experiences about the conservation projects taking place. You can get to know more about Merlin and his Chevigny House restoration project through two articles featuring him in the St. Albert Gazette: Making history come alive, and Restoring layers of history.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Museum Videos Day on February 26

Musée Héritage Museum St Albert History Gallery - Youtube

February 26, 2014 was Museum Videos Day. Check out the video that was put together for the Musée Héritage Museum, looking over the history of our permanent gallery.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Showcasing the Father Lacombe Chapel at GETCA

The annual Greater Edmonton Teachers' Convention (GETCA) took place February 27-28, 2014 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.  Programmers Roy and Tori were there to represent the St. Albert heritage sites, specifically the Father Lacombe Chapel which is a provincial historic site in Alberta.  Other Alberta historic sites included Rutherford House, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, the Reynolds-Alberta Museum and the Oil Sands Discovery Centre.

The convention was a great place to connect with teachers, from all grade levels, looking for fun and educational field trips for their students. Working together we were able to promote all the provincial sites represented, as well as the other facilities managed by the Arts and Heritage Foundation in St. Albert. 
 This was also a great opportunity to network with employees from other provincial heritage sites and museums, comparing programs and sharing ideas. We were able to walk around the convention, seeing who else (and what else!) was there, coming away with some great information and connections with colleagues in the museum industry.

All in all it was a great chance to get out and meet many teachers and other education professionals working in Edmonton and area. We look forward to hosting you and your students at the heritage sites in St. Albert!