Tuesday, September 15, 2015

End of the 2015 season at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park!

The 2015 summer season at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park has been busy with school programs, tours, special events, weddings and Craft Thursdays.  

Our last event of the season, the Harvest Festival, took place Sunday September 13, 2015 on a windy September afternoon.  While rain threatened it held off and our visitors enjoyed music, hot buttered corn, face painting, balloon shapes, tours, a scavenger hunt and demonstrations by local quilters and weavers.   Oh, and of course…the farm animals brought in by 12 Acres Farm--sheep, chickens, goats and a duck!


Quilting demonstration

Hot buttered corn!

Grain elevator tours

Activity tents

Thank you to everyone who came out to the grain elevator site this summer to enjoy a food truck event, our Canada Day celebration, a wedding, a tour with family and friends, a craft day or the Harvest Festival.  We enjoyed showing you around the heritage site and look forward to seeing you again in 2016!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 5: The young and the archives

Outreach was a big topic at the conference.  Working in a museum, I’ve seen the efforts that our programming team puts towards outreach and I am always looking at ways to increase the archives profile in the programming area.

 Excellent case studies were presented where archivists actively went out to reach different audiences.

WWI letters from a Oshawa soldier becomes part of the curriculum
Particularly interesting were the efforts to reach a young, school audience, which may not be typically seen as a primary user group of archives. 
Jennifer Weymark of Oshawa Community Museum partnered with a local high school to incorporate archival materials into their curriculum to teach about World War I. The museum used a diary they had from a local WWI soldier, which became a focal point to teach about the war in school.

Students create their own portrait of a soldier

Rachel Beattie speaks on the Degrassi trivia night session

Another great outreach presented by Rachel Beattie at Media Commons of the University of Toronto. She developed a trivia night session based on their holdings on the tv show Degrassi. This reached out to a wide group of people interested in Canadian pop culture.  All of the presenters clearly illustrated that a lot of time and effort goes into outreach, but it is something that can result in some very positive exposure and use of the archives.

Good tips I learned
  •  Try not to hold your major events in the winter where cold nights could scare people away. 
  •  All archivists; brush up on your cursive writing skill or at the very least how to read cursive writing!  Many children are no longer being taught cursive writing and this leads to difficulty in reading older documents resulting in a lot of work transcribing documents in the archives.
It was another informative conference put together by the ACA. It was great to see some old friends and colleagues and see the progress archivists are making in their never ending efforts to bring awareness to the archives. I hope that readers will get a better sense of the archives are about and what we have to offer.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 4: Komagata Maru

Hi everyone, it’s the archivist Vino again sharing information about the ACA conference in Regina. 

Online exhibits from York University

Last time I blogged, I mentioned that social media is being widely used in order to promote and highlight archival collections and one effective method being utilized by archives are web exhibitions.  A great example is the web exhibit created by Simon Frasier University (SFU)  that used their archival holdings to tell the story of the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 (http://komagatamarujourney.ca/).

   The Komagata Maru was a ship with migrants from British India, who came to Vancouver because they did not like their living conditions in India. They were  turned away by the Canadian government and not permitted to enter Canada and when they returned to India the passengers were persecuted.  
   SFU accomplished many things with this website. 

  • First, they were able to reframe traditional perspectives of this story by including Canadian Indian voices. 
  • Second, they provided access to a variety of materials, such as government papers, oral histories, personal archives, and interviews. 
  • Third they developed partnerships to produce the website, such as with the City of Vancouver Archives and the government of India. 

   The university was successful in utilizing many different types of records from different sources in order to bring light to this tragic Canadian story that is not well known.

Web exhibits provide a great way for an archive to highlight their holdings and to share stories that may not be well known.  

   The Musée Héritage Museum is planning to produce web exhibits and to use our holdings to tell different stories of the people, organizations and places in our community and region as well. 
   I will return with my last blog on outreach efforts taking place in archives. See you later!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 3: Entertain first, educate second

Hi everyone, this is the archivist Vino again, back with a blog on my experiences at the ACA conference in Regina.
   A major theme at the ACA conference this year was the use of social media going on in archives. This is an aspect of archives that I have been trying to broaden at our museum, and so it was interesting to see the various media that archivists are using. 
   Presenters showed examples of how they used their archival holdings on Flickr, Facebook, Tumbler, blogs, Twitter, and YouTube in order to bring more attention to the archives. 

The potential for archival materials that could be used on social media is endless

   It is clear that these tools are excellent means to promoting and bringing awareness to archives but the message that resonated with me, as discussed by Jeff O’Brien from the City of Saskatoon Archives, is that we should not forget older media forms. 
   He talked about his experience of building public awareness of the archives through traditional media forms, such as television, radio, and newspapers. Despite possible decline in viewership, traditional media is not dead yet and it already has a built in audience for archivists to reach. O’Brien also spoke highly of people’s want for stories and humour. 
   Jeff believes archivists should “entertain first, educate second” and I believe the point here is that once people come through the door, they will see the multitude of uses for the archives. 
   It is always a challenge to describe archives to the general public so O’Brien’s suggestion of drawing people to the archives makes a lot sense.

Jeff O'Brien, among panelists, speaking on social media and other forms to reach audiences
In my next blog, I will continue with this theme of using different tools to highlight archival collections by highlighting one particular example. See you later!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 2: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Hi everyone, this is the museum's archivist, Vino, continuing with my blogs on the sessions I attended at the 2015 ACA conference in Regina.

Ry Moran, director of the NCTR

One of highlights from the conference was a session with 
staff of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). 
The NCTR, located at the University of Manitoba, has a 
mandate of archiving as complete an historical record as possible of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system and legacy. 

The NCTR will be the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada (TRC).  

They are on their way to digitizing close to 4 million records and are concerned with making sure there is access to records while, at the same time, respecting the privacy of individuals. We were shown a preview of the website that they are about to launch that will host most of the digitized records. It really will leave a lasting legacy for those looking into the history of the IRS in Canada.

This was definitely one of the sessions I was looking forward to attending.  As the archivist at the Musée Héritage Museum I respond to research requests, relating to many of the Aboriginal families from St. Albert, and felt it was important to know more about the development and future plans of the NCTR as it evolves as a centre for housing this important information for Canada.

Preview of NCTR website that will host digitized records. Set to launch Fall 2015, nctr.minisisinc.com.

  St. Albert was home to two residential schools in the region, the Youville Convent on Mission Hill and the Edmonton Industrial School located near River Lot 56.
  I am sure that once the NCTR website is up and running, it will be a valuable source for researching the IRS system in St. Albert and across the country.

If you get the chance I would also recommend visiting the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation archives at the University of Manitoba. The staff at the NCTR are working hard to ensure that the building is a welcoming place for all people, especially Aboriginal People.

 I will be back with another blog on my experience at the ACA conference soon... Vino

Friday, August 7, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 1: Murder in the Archives

Hi everyone, this is the Musée's archivist Vino and I thought I would write a series of blogs on some of the interesting sessions I attended during the Association of Canadian Archivists’ (ACA) 40th annual conference in Regina, SK held in June 2015. 

With the theme of “Perspectives on the Archival Horizon”, the conference looked at various topics such as, community archives, social justice, outreach, digital preservation, technology, social media, and changes within the archival profession through seminar sessions with panelists, poster presentations, case studies, exhibits, and keynote speakers. 

I am always excited to attend the conference so that I can see what my fellow colleagues in Canada and around the world are up to. And, it’s not just archivists, but I am also interested in hearing from individuals outside our realm, who are users and huge supporters of archives in general.
Conference delegates at the ACA conference in Regina. Getting ready to hear Gail Bowen.
  The conference began with opening speaker, Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourn murder mysteries, which are set in Saskatchewan. Bowen, an avid user of archives, has her archival records and manuscripts held at the University of Regina Archives. This also inspired her to set a murder in the Archives in her novel, Burying Ariel (I'm going to be reading this real soon). Bowen spoke about her career and how she has come to rely on archives for her research. She also mentioned archivists should visit English classes and writing classes. The thought here is that if archivists get out to these places, then more writers will be aware of the archives for their research. It is often a challenge to get people aware of what an archives provides to people, so if archivists actively get out to different places then more people become aware of it. Archives is a place of research for all types of people, so this was a great suggestion from Bowen to increase our awareness.

Outreach is huge part of what the Musée Héritage Museum offers our community. And I found this aspect of the outreach archivist to be a driving point for almost all of the sessions I attended at the conference.  

I will blog again soon about more of the conference….Vino

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Great Waldo Hunt, 2015

Where’s Waldo?  Well, from July 3rd to July 10th, 2015, he was right here in St. Albert!  The St. Albert Public Library ran their Great Waldo Hunt for the second year in a row, and Arts and Heritage St. Albert were excited to be involved once again!

At the Kick-Off Party for the event, held in the lobby of St. Albert Place, Amanda and Kay, from the Art Gallery, ran their popular Waldo-themed photo booth, while the Musee Heritage Museum provided lemonade and cookies, which the kids could decorate with frosting and sprinkles.  The library staff ran a Waldo dress-up contest with City Councilor Tim Osborne judging the costumes.

Throughout the week long event museum and heritage site staff had a small Waldo cutout hidden at their locations which included the museum, the Little White School, the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park, and the Father Lacombe Chapel.  

Hundreds of people came to those sites, as well as the Art Gallery, the Library, and the various participating businesses in town, so they could find Waldo.  

At each site, participants would hunt for Waldo, and when they found him, the staff would stamp for their passports.  If a participant was able to get a stamp from each place then he, or she, could enter a draw for some great prizes!

On Friday the 10th, there was a Wrap-Up Party, again in the lobby of St. Albert Place.  Lemonade was provided by the museum and library, and the library also provided cake.  

The museum and art gallery staff ran two different crafts: Waldo glasses and toques.  After making their own glasses and toques, visitors could show off their new looks in the art gallery’s photo booth. 

The library also had a Waldo-themed scavenger hunt setup throughout St. Albert Place.   In all, a great event, and it was a real treat to see so many people at the museum and heritage sites as they "scoured" our community working to locate all the hidden Waldos! 

Special thanks to the St. Albert Public Library for including us in the Great Waldo Hunt 2015.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Canada Day 2015

Canada Day 2015 at the St. Albert Heritage Sites 

JP and historic objects

At the train station visitors were invited to take a close look at "old" objects and guess how they might have been used.  There were a lot of creative ideas, guesses and laughter at this location!  Thank you JP for setting this up.

Walking by the train station you could also hear , some of our visitors were playing tunes on the community piano inside while others listened to the live music outdoors.

And at the Little White School...                                                           
One of the activities, which was actually written about in the St. Albert Gazette, was the Great Canadian Flag Debate Contest, held at the Little White School. This annual contest received about 70 entries this year, with lots of people showing off their creativity. 
We ask contest entrants to pretend it is 1964, and then have them create a flag design to submit to the government for consideration to become the National Flag of Canada.  

We asked entrants to think about what Canada means to them and then think of a unique design using symbols that represent Canada.  

There were four age categories: 5 and under, 6 to 9 years of age, 10 to 12 years of age, and 13 and over.  With so many entrants, it was difficult to choose winners, but we managed to narrow it down to one winner per category.  The winners were: Evie, 5 years old, for her “Beaver” flag; Sabrina, 8 years old; Hannah, 12 years old; and finally, Annika & Caitlin, 18 & 20 years old.  

Annika & Caitlin even provided a write-up to explain their flag: “Left corner is the North Star, representing leadership and wisdom; colour range is red, white, black, blue, and brown… in honour of our British, French and Canadian roots.  Black and blue honour the RCMP ribbon and brown for the Mountie.  Tipi on bottom right honours Canadian First Nations.  3 maple leaves respect past flags and our interpretation of the French, English and Canadian sides.”

Trying some homemade ice cream

Father Lacombe Chapel Provincial Historic Site

Tours inside the chapel

Canada Day 2015 was a great day to celebrate in St. Albert, Alberta!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Megan presents her poster on the Musée at the Special Libraries Association conference in Boston

From June 14-16, 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the SLA Annual Conference in Boston, MA! SLA is a network of information professionals in areas of special libraries, museums, archives, and non-traditional library settings.  I was very involved with the SLA student chapter at my school when I was working towards my MLIS degree, so I decided a while back that I wanted to attend this conference for the second time (last year’s was in Vancouver!).

The theme of the conference this year was, Be Revolutionary! to inspire information professionals to share the current and upcoming trends in the field. This was also the first time that the planning committee decided to host a joint poster session in the exhibition hall.

I approached Shari (the museum director) with a poster proposal about the Musée Héritage Museum and its use of community engagement as a marketing strategy. Once she gave me the go ahead, I started designing my poster. In the few weeks prior to the conference, I sent my poster draft to all of the Musée Héritage Museum staff, and everyone in the Arts and Heritage Foundation of St. Albert (AHFSA) administration office for feedback. I felt that the process of this poster project really embodied the museum’s philosophy of community involvement and collaboration. So, just like everything else that we do at the museum, everyone had a hand in the creation of my poster!

It was my first time participating in a conference this large, but while I was nervous, I was even more excited to talk about this amazing place that I love to work at! The poster provided great exposure for the museum, which is exactly what I was hoping for. AHFSA and Musée Héritage Museum kept me stocked with exhibition catalogues, brochures, and business cards to give out. Both surprising and unsurprising, visitors to my poster were incredibly interested in the museum, and how we do things! I spoke with people of many different educational and employment backgrounds, and from all over North America. Those who represented other smaller museums, many based out of the US commended Musée Héritage Museum on its innovation and perseverance. I ended up giving out every last one of the business cards! To add a bit more to my poster setup, I also held a draw – in exchange for a business card, visitors had the chance to win a set of 3 Musée Héritage Museum’s candy tins, with each tin featuring a historic site maintained by the museum!

I have gladly offered my poster to the museum for keepsake, so be sure to take a look on your next visit!

A BIG thank you to Musée Héritage Museum for this amazing experience, and for all of the help!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Healing Garden in St. Albert


The Musée Héritage Museum has been working alongside the United Church and City staff planning a place to remember the children that were taken from their families and placed residential schools. There were two residential schools in the region, the Youville Home on Mission Hill and the Edmonton Industrial School located near River Lot 56.

At our 2015 Father's Day Food Truck event we had children and their families make a heart flower to plant at the Healing Garden site, located on the north side of the Sturgeon River, across from City Hall.  Children from the St. Albert United Church started planting the heart garden on Sunday June 21 and then museum staff added the hearts they had collected at the special event.

Heart gardens are being planted across Canada and…."The goal is to honour children lost to the Indian Residential School system and mark new possibilities in reconciliation."  To discover more about this project visit http://www.kairoscanada.org/events/time4reconciliation/heart-gardens/

We invite you to stop by the Musee Heritage Museum to make your own heart flower to add to the garden!