Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Join us for Summer Walking Tours of St. Albert starting June 26, 2014!

Aerial of Mission Hill, 1980s - 1990s. Musée Héritage Museum, Victor Post fonds

 A big thank you to Servus Credit Union for supporting the historic walking tours program this season!

 Summer is here and the Musée Héritage Museum is proud to offer our popular historic walking tours again this season starting on Thursday June 26, 2014.  Our Education Programmer, Roy Toomey, will be leading the walking tours which include archival photographs, maps and the stories about this wonderful and unique place.  
  •  Meet at the Little White School (2 Madonna Drive) at 6:30pm on selected Thursday evenings.  
  • The suggested donation is $3 per person.  
 We will be offering two different tours this year, on alternating dates: the historic downtown St. Albert tour, and the new historic riverside walking tour.   Specific dates are listed below.

Tour schedule:
June 26 – Downtown                                    July 10 – Riverside
July 24 – Downtown                                     August 14 – Riverside
August 28 – Downtown                                September 11 – Riverside  

Aerial of downtown St. Albert, Jun. 1989. Musée Héritage Museum, Victor Post fonds
 The downtown tour will discuss various topics related to St. Albert’s history, including the history of Mission Hill, education in St. Albert, Perron Street and the Perron Family, the renowned Bruin Inn, the Bank de Hochelaga, the ‘Ducky Dome,’ St. Albert Place, and historic features of Perron Street that no longer exist.  A lot of history is covered in this leisurely 1 to 1.5 hour tour!

Aerial of St. Albert, 1990s. Musée Héritage Museum, Victor Post fonds
 The new riverside tour will wind along the Sturgeon River, discussing many historic topics, including the history of the river itself, the plant and animal resources that drew people to the valley, traditional aboriginal uses of plants, the river lot system, stories of the settlers, railway history, the fur trade, and finally the historic buildings at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park.  This tour is longer than the downtown tour, taking from 1.5 to 2 hours.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Two new exhibits at the Musée commemorating the First World War

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the Musée Héritage Museum is proud to present two special exhibits, Joining Up and The Home Front.

Joining Up: Our Men and Women in the First World War
Western Canadian communities made great sacrifices for the war effort between 1914 and 1918 and this included St. Albert, Alberta. Many of St. Albert's citizens answered the call to join up during the war. This exhibit takes a close look at 62 young men and 1 woman from the St. Albert, Alberta area who served during the First World War.

This exhibit is sponsored by Melcor Developments and will be open until November 16, 2014.

The Home Front: Life in St. Albert During the First World War
With the usage of photographs, news clippings, and artifacts, this exhibit explores what life was like in St. Albert leading up to, and during, the war. The exhibit examines how St. Albert's citizens coped with and helped support the war both financially and emotionally.

This exhibit will be open until August 31, 2014.

The Musée will also be producing another exhibit in September that looks at the contributions of a one-time resident of St. Albert, Brigadier-General Raymond Brutinel. He was an extraordinary individual who had a major impact in both Alberta and the First World War. Stay tuned for further announcements on this exhibit.

Please join us for our opening reception for Joining Up and the Home Front on Thursday, June 19 at 6pm.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Discovery Room at the Musée!

With the closure of our last temporary exhibit, Hands on Nature, it was time to change up the museum’s complementary children’s exhibit in the Discovery Room. For the month of June we have installed a new Aboriginal-themed display to celebrate National Aboriginal History Month and on June 21, National Aboriginal Day.

 There are representative activities and decorations from each of the three Aboriginal groups in Canada: Inuit, First Nations, and Métis.

There are displays featuring the First Nations, Inuit and Métis as well as the bison (buffalo), an animal that has historically been very important to Aboriginal peoples of Alberta.

Activities include First Nations crafts, mini tipi’s and mosaic medicine wheels, as well as Métis colouring sheets.

There is also a game matching animals with their Inuktitut names (the language of the Inuit).

Bring the kids and come on down to the museum to celebrate National Aboriginal History Month and National Aboriginal Day… and do not miss our new feature exhibitions, highlighting the anniversary of the start of WWI, Joining Up and Home Front, opening on June 17, 2014.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Staff Profile: The Museum Archivist

The Archivist at the Musée Héritage Museum is Vino Vipulanantharajah and we asked him to describe what he does.

   Hello all, this is your resident archivist Vino speaking!   I am responsible for the archives in the museum and my job is to preserve and share the documentary heritage of St. Albert. 

   I look after private papers, manuscripts, oral histories, photographs and other audio-visual materials, municipal records, and also a Métis genealogy database.   A big part of my job is to make sure that archival materials are arranged, described, and preserved so that the public can access our archives for their research and personal use.

  Archives are an important part of so many things we see and do, things like books, documentaries, TV programs, radio, and exhibits. Thus, I consider one of my major missions at the Musée Héritage Museum  is to be an advocate and increase the public awareness of archives.

Assessing the condition of my documents. Not looking good.
  Originally from Toronto I have always had a soft spot for history, so the thought of gathering and deciphering information and working with original materials was appealing to me. I completed my Masters in Information, specializing in Archives and Records Management before moving west and joining the staff at the Musée.  Up to that point my biggest project was processing the Photographic History of the Erindale Campus at the University of Toronto and I also worked on the team that created a new archives for the Toronto French School during their 50th anniversary year in 2012.

   I often get asked what's "attractive" about archives and why did I choose this profession. The ultimate reason for my choice goes back to my childhood as I have always been infatuated with the idea of time travel.  My biggest dream while growing up was to build a time machine and go see places and people from different times.  Archives have become my time machine.   Looking at an old photograph, video, or the handwriting in a diary transports me to places and times that I’ve never seen before. I really get a rush when processing archival materials and have to figure out unidentified time periods, people, and places. Nothing beats playing an investigator in time!

   Working at the Musée Héritage Museum has exposed me to unique opportunities that are not usually available to an archivist. In addition to my archival duties I have participated in education programs, helped our curator research and install exhibits, administrate the museum’s blog, developed management procedures, looked after IT related issues, helped at our special events and surveyed a forest.  A memorable moment was when I physically helped carry a grizzly bear (not a real one, but the fibreglass Bruin Inn Bear, which is just as big) into the museum to put on display!

  I plan to get more involved working with our education programmers and helping to incorporate more archival materials into our school programs at the museum and heritage sites. I can truly say it has been a life changing experience working and living in St. Albert where I have come to enjoy my work immensely.
Archival Rescue Ranger. There are many of us out there. In the process of decontaminating old records found in the St. Albert Grain Elevators

You can get to know more about Vino's projects from a couple of St. Albert Gazette articles: A treasure trove of photographic history, and Spring cleaning reveals archival treasures. These articles talk about his first project with the museum and also a recent find at the St. Albert City Council Chambers, respectively.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2014 International Children's Festival

"Animal Kinship" tent at the Children's Festival
May 27-31 the museum hosted an activity tent at the 2014 International Children’s Festival in St. Albert. More than a thousand people visited the Animal Kinship tent including students on field trips, children of all ages, parents and grandparents! Staff and volunteers from the museum and heritage sites dropped in to help out, and we had great youth volunteers every day. We were situated on a picturesque spot right beside the Sturgeon River, where our tent served as respite from both the rain and, later in the week, the sun.
Sharon leading a program in our tent.
Visitors made bookmarks based on one of the four animals of the medicine wheel.
This year the museum partnered with the Art Gallery of St. Albert to provide Aboriginal programming along the Heritage Trail. At the museum tent we made decorative bookmarks based on the four animals of the medicine wheel, and even brought out some museum objects to share; the gallery did a complementary art project called “Pictographs of the Plains People.” We also set up our small tipi so visitors could have a look inside.
"Pictographs of the Plains People" tent at the International Children's Festival
Shannon leading a program
Inside the museum we featured our current exhibits, the permanent St. Albert History Gallery and the temporary exhibit, Hands on Nature, as well as our fun-filled Discovery Room. In the education space we hosted a special Coffee Filter Butterfly craft in honour of the Children’s Festival.
Sharon sharing some interesting objects, "Bear paw anyone?"
We look forward to seeing you at the Festival again next year!