Thursday, April 16, 2015

Farewell Megan!

Museum blogs usually feature artifacts and their story or events and the reason behind them. This time, we’ll change it somewhat. We’ll delve, briefly, into the story of the person responsible for many of the blogs over the past five years – Museum Collections Technician Megan Purcell.

Megan came to the Museum well-equipped educationally and with the experience necessary to meet the challenge of managing the Museum’s extensive and growing artifact collection, including one of her favourite subjects – rocks and fossils. In addition, she designed and assembled the Museum’s displays and featured exhibits. As well, she made presentations to groups as part of the Museum’s outreach program.

Megan has done so much more. She is renowned for culinary talents on display at Museum gatherings and for staff special occasions. Alas, as of the beginning of May, Campbell River, BC, and its Museum will reap the benefits of Megan’s skills as she moves on professionally and personally.

She will be missed, not only by those of you she has assisted during her tenure, but also by Town and Museum staff – her colleagues.

Farewell Megan. Take care.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's a Mad Hatters Party!

It's a Mad Hatters Party when the Museum and the Toy Library join together for a morning of fun and play! Next Friday, March 27th, 2015, the Museum and the Toy Library (now Peace Playland) are hosting a Mad Hatters Party for children ages 1 - 5, where everyone is invited to wear their favourite hat.

From 10 - 11:30 am, children and their parents or grandparents will be able to play with toys that the Toy Library will bring with them as well as the toys that the Museum has out in our Toy Stories exhibit.

We even have a dress-up station in this exhibit! Of course, once you're wearing your finest dress-up attire, you'll want to strike a pose at the picture station!

We invite you to join us that morning, wearing your favourite hat, for only $2 per child, with $1 each going to the Toy Library and the Museum.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No, it was a meteorite!

The town of Bruderheim recently commemorated the fall and recovery of the Bruderheim meteorite in 1960. What an impact this arrival from outer space must have had on the community – especially in light of the ‘race for space’ that the United States and the USSR were engaged in so tightly. Sky watchers must have been in awe. Did you know that the Peace River Museum collection includes a piece of that space rock? It was donated by the Percy Hills family from Judah Hill district.
Speaking of the Hills family, did you also know that three years later, the Peace River meteorite came to Earth and that, then graduate student in geology at the University of Alberta, Len Hills, was part of the recovery team? The Museum Library includes a report of the collection of specimens and eye-witness reports. The report (1964) begins:
                “Peace River, as a detonating bolide, entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 4:35 a.m. MST March 31, 1963, creating a flash visible for over 100 miles, followed by detonations resembling sonic booms over a 4,000-square-mile area.”  It goes on to say that March was "a time of year and day most unfavourable for recovery. However, this was Sunday morning and the Peace River country had not quite settled down from a frontier Saturday night. Peter Karpiak was up, administering to a sick horse; Alfred Bobier was looking for new-born lambs and calves .... A number of Peace River citizens were returning from parties. To many slumbering observers it was only an awakening flash and a bang, which resulted in a prowl of the premises to see if the oil heater had exploded.”

Further along in the report, the team writes of the recovery process, which determined that the ellipse of the fall was in the Brownvale area and it naturally yielded the highest concentration of specimens. One such sample,  labeled Peace River #1  and weighing in at 18 pounds, was discovered by university student John Westgate. “To the folklore of the land of Twelve-Foot Davis should be added the name of Eighteen-stone Westgate, because his discovery, like Davis’s rich fractional claim, proved to be an incredible stroke of fortune.”
If you would like to read more from the report, drop by the Museum Library between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
(Source: The Peace River Meteorite: Fall and Recovery./ R.E.Folinsbee and L.A.Bayrock, Department of Geology, University of Alberta: 1964)


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Happy New Year!

The Chinese Lunar Year just celebrated the Year of the Sheep or Goat with wishes for peace and humility in 2015.  This Blog is in honour of the Chinese families who contributed to the social, cultural and economic growth of the Peace Country in the early 1900s right up to today.

Back in 2011, the Museum hosted a travelling exhibit from the Royal Alberta Museum titled CHOP SUEY ON THE PRAIRIES. At the time, we were all reminded of the Chinese Canadian proprietors of restaurants and cafes in the Peace. These families included, though not exclusively, Dan Soo Der with the Royal Café in Grismshaw; Joe Hong and Hong’s Restaurant in North Star, Whitelaw then Notikewan; Jimmy Darr out in Hines Creek with Darr’s Café; Kimlin Der with the Grand Café, the Queen’s Café and finally the Dragon Inn in Fairview.
In Peace River we remember the families of Der Ham Lock with the Sun Café then the New Sun Café, Frank Mah at the Golden Palace Café in the McNamara Hotel, Tom Der Guey at the Dog House and the New Sun Café, Benny and Janet Wing with the Gueys and other partners established the Mayflower Café. Most recently the Bob and Sereena Kwan family with partner Romeo Yu retired from the business TJ’s Restaurant which they established and operated in Peace River. TJ's Restaurant was well-known for the best Chinese cuisine in Peace River!
Happy New Year! 
Artifacts from the Sun Café, the Golden Palace and the Dog House.

Friday, February 13, 2015

February Artist of the Month

"Pandas in their environment" by Sherri Beattie

It is fitting that Sherri Beattie is our Artist of the Month for February as it is a month to remember the importance of  family connections, family activities and family history. Sherri's work will have great appeal for children visiting our current exhibit Toy Stories. She likes to paint images of animals in bright acrylics.

As a member of the Peace of Art artists, she has included three pieces in the Infinity exhibit at the Library Art Gallery. While these works still depict her love of colour, the repetitive patterns she has created are an intriguing departure from her usual subject matter. Take time to walk through this eclectic and expressive exhibit from artists of the Peace of Art club and delight in viewing how creative the folks of the Peace are. Our artists help document who we were and are today as well as provide a commentary about some of the important issues of the time.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Family and great communities!

Family Day in Alberta is weekend filled with cultural, historical and recreational opportunities. The Museum offers something to add to this compliment of activities.

SS DA Thomas Steamboat was built in the
West Peace River Shipyards in 1916
The Historic Places Committee is holding a second Jane Jacobs Walk on February 16th, 2015 in Lower West Peace River.  This area was once a community in its own right, distinct from Peace River Crossing. It boasted banks, stores, blacksmiths and a hotel until the railway bridge was completed in 1918. That precipitated a relocation of its business community to the Crossing where greater traffic developed. Now a residential neighborhood, it is a unique place to live. Our walk will look at the special places found here and talk about the historical profile of this location.
Meet us at the Lower West Peace Playground on 91st Street at 1pm. Be prepared to walk for about 1.5 hours and we urge everyone to dress for the weather.

Beaded moccasin tongues or vamps
Staying with families and the value of creating memories together, we are pleased to host FNMI Coordinator Tanys Oxman on February 21st and 28th, 2015 for Aboriginal Art and the Child. This two part series is open to youth ages 7 to 12 years. They will create modern day wampum belts and par fleche bags while learning the cultural and historical significance associated with each object.  The sessions are free with the price of admission $2  and we ask you to pre-register as only 12 places are available.

For more information about either of these events, please call us at 780-624-4261 or email at   Our public hours are 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pow Wow Calendar 2015

The Museum is proud to be an outlet for the 2015 Pow Wow calendar. For $15 you will not only  be supporting the inspiring work of the fundraising committee who organize and manage the annual Pow Wow and Aboriginal Gathering  for our area but you will receive a high quality photographic production encapsulating the dynamic colour and movement of this heritage and cultural event.

The calendar is photographed by recognized Grande Prairie artist Robert Wiebe and the production was designed by Tormaigh VanSlyke and Jenelle Lizotte creative proprietors of the Move Up magazine. What a celebration and demonstration of regional talents this calendar is. Congratulations to the Pow Wow Committee and everyone involved!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The year 2015, like last year, is filled with historic celebrations.  Reaching the pinnacle of 100th is the  Masonic Lodge in Peace River and the first postal service to Peace River Crossing, to name but two. It will be 110 years since the Shaftesbury Trail was surveyed and 105 years for the survey of the Grouard/ Peace River Trail.  In terms of more contemporary history, it will also be the 25th anniversary of Daishowa-Marubeni Peace River Pulp Mill (DMI).  The Museum will partner with DMI on an exhibit featuring a historical and environmental perspective of the boreal forest, titled “When a Tree Falls in the Forest”.
Artist Jessie Rovang setting up her 'pulp' dolls.

Ironically, this month’s artist, Jessie Rovang, is showing, amongst her watercolours and photography, handmade dolls she created  from DMI pulp.

           Wood worker and artist Ken Ayre installing new shelves.
Carrying on with the northern boreal forest theme, we were recently recipients of a beautifully crafted set of shelves of area spruce from  local woodworker and artist Ken Ayre. His well-known furniture can be found in our galleries offering comfy spaces for contemplation and enjoyment.  This recent acquisition came to us from the generosity of Carol and Dave VanSlyke, who gave their father and father-in-law John Vanslyke, a donation to our Museum as his Christmas gift.  This donation, combined with a donation from Heritage Run organizers – the Peace River Running Club, we now have our Gift Shop history books displayed for sale on a work of art.

Our sincere thanks to the VanSlykes and the Running Club for this new shelving unit and to Ken Ayre for the creative wood work!

History books displayed on new shelves in the Gift Shop

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A special year end THANK YOU to our volunteers and generous benefactors this past year!

As this year concludes, staff at the Museum would like to express heartfelt thanks to the volunteers on our Museum Advisory Board (Verne MacRoberts, Terry Sawchuk, Carol Ridsdale, Liliane Maisonneuve Lavoie, Donna Welligan, Jerrold Lundgard, Klaas Sipma), our Heritage Places Committee (Karen Rumball, Audrey Randall, Geoff Milligan, Jeannette Rolling, Bev Henderson, Kate Churchill, Alisha Mody), Lois Stranaghan, Jim Umbach and all the Dance Through the Decades volunteers for help in making the Museum a community gathering place for new knowledge and fun. Thank you also for generous donations from the Peace River Running Club, Sir Alexander Mackenzie Historical Society, Eric and Leslie Ayre-Jaschke, Joan Wahl, Adele Boucher,Charles and Jacqueline Liebe, Valley Peacemakers' Quilt Guild, David and Sally Brule, MJ & Terry Kristoff, Paul Martel,Lesser Slave Lake Forest Education Society, Richard Rhodes  and Carol and Dave VanSlyke.

The Museum would not be as much a part of the community as it is without support like this, nor
without patrons and visitors dropping by to see the latest exhibit, author or speaker.
Thank you for a fine year and we look forward to celebrating more of our community's heritage in 2015!
Ready, set, go - into the New Year!
May the year 2015 be filled with peace and good health for you all!

From Laura, Stephanie, Beth and Megan
Centre Street School Track and Field races 1958