Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Vintage Bottles at the Peace River Museum!

“Every empty bottle is filled with stories…” – Anonymous

Vintage bottles from the 19th and 20th century have intrigued people due to their shapes, colours, and historical uses, from Corkers to Shear Tops. The museum has acquired nearly 60 antique bottles, along with rather interesting stories associated with them.

This collection of bottles was found in the ground behind the Peace River broadcasting or CKYL building (9807-100 Ave) by a construction crew in the fall of 2015. Judging by the varied bottles found at this location, it must have been an early refuse site. But everyone knows that saying, ‘one man’s garbage…’ Well, we have had a chance to clean them off, and uncover (through many layers of earth) the stories, or at least the former life that some of these bottles may have had while they were in use.

Unfortunately the disposing of glass that way at that time was a precursor to how we dispose of glass today. For many, the recycling of glass is no longer ‘financially viable,’ therefore glass containers are increasingly disposed of in landfills. In the 1950s and 1960s, crushed glass was recycled in the form of stucco cladding on homes. Throughout Peace River you can see this early method of crushed glass-stucco.

Recycling glass can be fun, an old bottle with a sprig of flowers can brighten up a space, a window sill, or beautiful addition to a kitchen table. Therefore, to promote the recycling of glass and glass products, the museum will be selling these vintage bottles as a small fundraiser – you too can own a piece of Peace River history!!
Small bottles are $2.00, and the large bottles are $5.00. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Artists of the Month-February-Beyond the Heart Clubhouse

This month’s artists are members of the Beyond the Heart Clubhouse. The Clubhouse offers a community-based, complimentary approach that  “offers people with mental health illnesses, hope and opportunities to achieve their full potential ” (Beyond the Heart Clubhouse Newsletter,Vol.1, Issue 1, 2015).

Challenging the stigma surrounding issues of mental health is considered by the Clubhouse members and staff to be an ongoing campaign. Identifying with mental illness can be as close as someone who is your brother, co-worker or friend who manages their lives with this diagnosis. Stigma can manifest itself in difficulty finding housing, entering higher education, obtaining insurance and receiving fair  treatment in the criminal justice or child welfare systems.

Documented research suggests that engaging in a creative process can provide a powerful outlet for things that are hard to talk about. Already, a growing number of medical practitioners endorse creative expression for its therapeutic impact on managing the physical and mental conditions associated with anxiety, social isolation and loneliness. Struggling with self-doubt and self-blame can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness but for some, the creative arts gives voice to those feelings which can then begin a journey of healing and create a positive sense of self, health and well-being.

View the creative expressions from the Beyond the Heart Clubhouse this month and while you are visiting, take in a new exhibit in the Peace River Gallery co-developed with Project Peace, a school-based program aimed at improving student success by developing emotional intelligence which is based on creating self-awareness and empathy for others. The exhibit “Peace of Mind” takes a retrospective look at the history of mental health practices and attitudes in Alberta and offers visitors hands-on stations to playfully practice mindfulness and intention.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Artist of the Month - January - Mushroom Magic

A taste of some of the unique and interesting artwork by this artist on display
for the month of January at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre.
Valerie Jean Palmer is featured as the January Artist 2016.  With the new boreal forest exhibit showing in the Main Gallery, her collection of mushroom spore prints is particularly relevant. Val ventures out into the local boreal forest and surrounding fields to source mushrooms for her spore prints. This is time sensitive process as the spores drop their spores on to her paper anywhere from ten minutes to 36 hours later. Val arranges the various mushrooms she has collected that day or night, gills down, on to the paper to create her compositions. By gently laying a mushroom face down the spores eventually leave an impression of the mushroom itself.  Val works with the individualistic colours that each mushroom lends to the paper and sometimes incorporates other natural elements in the work, such as, grasses, leaves and flowers.

Her appreciation for natural world around her is obvious in these and other works of art. When you drop by to view her featured works this month, include a visit to the Main Gallery to view one of her drawings and a poem about the boreal forest, as a part of the When a Tree Falls in the Forest exhibit.

Born in England, Val emigrated to Canada in the late 1950s and has made her home with her husband Don in the hills overlooking the Peace River since 1977.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Museum and Archives will be open regular hours (Monday - Saturday from 10am to 5pm) over the holidays and closed only December 24, 25, 26 and January 1, 2016.
 From our staff and our volunteers, we wish you a festive Christmas season surrounded by family and good friends and a New Year filled with good health and much happiness through out the year!
Skiers on the original Misery Mountain Ski Hill ca 1920s Donated by Jean Wakefield PRMA 72.453n

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Our boreal forest – teller of tree tales - Part 2!

The Broad-winged Hawk is a small bird of prey about 42 centimetres (17 inches) long. Its most distinguishing feature is its broadly barred tail. In Alberta, the broad-winged hawk ranges in the parkland and southern boreal forest regions, preferring mixed-wood forests and groves of deciduous trees. For food, it likes chipmunks, large insects, mice and squirrels and when hunting it tends to stay in the confines of the woods. It is protected by the provincial Wildlife Act and classified as a non-game species.

Just when you thought you were out of the woods – there’s more to explore.

Though it may be uncomfortable for some of us to think about, fire is nature’s way of recreating. Without fire, organic matter accumulates and inhibits the growth and establishment of many plant species. Cultural burning by indigenous people saw fires burned in different locations and times, which provided important opportunities for renewal and ecological biodiversity of plants and animals. The problem some of us may have, in this day and age, is with the Greek god of the northern wind, Boreas. His intervention, on occasion, has helped spread the fire and endanger life and limb.

This brings us to water, which we use to dissuader the spread of fire. For this reason and many others, we have a vital relationship with water – quality and quantity. We all have a responsibility to take care in what we put into our watershed. It is imperative we protect our natural resources – soil, water, air, plants, animals and even insects – our watershed, comprised of the Peace River and its tributaries, which emerged in the wake of our most recent ice age – 12,000 years ago. In doing so, it created the largest, in area, water basin in Alberta.

There are other inhabitants of our boreal forest, which may go unnoticed. Their habit is not to bite or annoy, but instead to provide all manner of assistance, depending on one’s bent. For some, it’s medicine, food or a photographic topic. Trees, in the mixed forest, have a special relationship with certain kinds of soil fungi – which help the tree collect water and minerals from the soil – did you know soils of the boreal forest are acidic and because of that, they are not favourable to nitrifying bacteria.

The short-eared owl is so named for the tufts of feathers on top of its head, so small they can only be seen at close range. Its real ears are hidden under the feathers at the side of its head. It likes open spaces, such as grasslands and marshes, and hunts primarily during the day seeking mice and voles. This medium-sized owl winters in warmer climes.
Some plants adapted ways to acquire nutrients (particularly nitrogen) from animal protein. These carnivorous plants, such as the Sarracenia picture plant, have evolved mechanisms to lure their prey into a pool of digestive enzymes. Once trapped in the liquid, these enzymes in the insect break down, resulting in the plant acquiring the nutrients.

Come, explore the Museum’s boreal forest exhibit.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Our boreal forest – teller of tree tales

Just a peek into a portion of the Museum’s boreal forest exhibit featuring diverse aspects of the forest – its birds, bugs, soils – its ecosystem.
George Berkley asked the question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” It depends on how one interprets sound, don’t you think? It may have to do with another of our human senses – sight – whether  one can’t see the forest for the trees – where things are so obvious, they’re obscure. That certainly goes for many of us, who haven’t really seen the boreal forest so intimately, in our own backyard, or heard how important it is to our economy – our well-being – our quality of life – our sense of nature – flora and fauna – so much.
Vernon John Leger is a man of many talents – music is only one he actively shared with guests, Saturday evening, November 21, as they strolled through the opening of the Museum exhibit – When a Tree Falls in the Forest. However, examples of his diverse artwork were featured on the Museum’s art wall for all to see. “He [Vernon] has grown from generations of creativity: his parents and grandparents being thoughtful artists and musicians”.
The staff of the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre, with the help of so many supporters, is proud to offer some insight into our boreal forest in its current exhibit When a Tree Falls in the Forest and hopes you will be able to enter our boreal forest and learn about its inhabitants, just as the staff has over the months of preparation.

As you stroll through the Museum’s forest exhibit, you will sense the importance of this forest that extends from the Yukon and northern British Columbia in the west to Newfoundland and Labrador in the east – Canada’s largest vegetation zone, making up 55 per cent of the country’s land mass. It is home to more than 40 species of fish, 50 different types of mammals and numerous flora and vegetation species.

Although the zone has varied terrain, including lakes and wetlands, the majority of the region is dominated by trees. The forest houses a diversity of life, and is crucial to maintaining biological diversity, storing carbon, purifying air and water, and regulating the climate. While 2.5 million Canadians live in the boreal zone, the forest provides a global community with jobs and economic stability.
Come to the Museum and learn more about our boreal forest and hear and see the tales it tells Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission $2. Over Christmastime, the Museum will be closed Dec. 24, 25, 26 and Jan. 1.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

History on the run brings rewards

On a fine fall day on the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre grounds, a metal tipi in the background, sculpted by artist Sonya Rosychuk, Peace River Running Club’s Marian Craig presents Museum researcher Beth Wilkins with a cheque for $4,000. The monies were the running club’s donation from this year’s Heritage Run. 

Each year, for the past 20-some years, the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre (Peace River Centennial Museum, when the run took off) has been the beneficiary of the effort of the Peace River Running Club, run participants and sponsors.

The annual June event is not only a run – it’s what participants make it – a run, walk, sponsorship, spectatorship, a get-together with people not seen for ages and a glorious opportunity to support the museum and its stewardship of history. This support helps the Museum and Archives not only be a depository for donated artifacts, but also to display those artifacts and tell the stories of the people who were associated with them. 

Over the years, the number of participants has increased, as has the monetary benefit to the Museum. Last year, there were seven teams and 144 individual participants for a total of 179, which through a portion of their entry fee, yielded a $4,000 donation to the Museum. This year, the number of participants increased to 220 – eight teams and 180 individual participants, providing another $4,000 to the Museum. It goes to show – numbers count.

Laura Gloor, Museum co-ordinator, and her staff are appreciative of the efforts and generosity of the running club and Museum supporters. The donation provides a means for the purchase of display cabinets and other items that might not otherwise be possible to enhance the Museum experience for visitors.

As mentioned earlier, sponsors certainly play a large role in the Peace River Running Club’s presentation. This year, they included: Tim Hortons, Mathieu Hyrniuk LLP; InVision Chartered Accountants; Waterworks Plus; Weaver Welding; Marshall Automotive; Fitness on the Go; Caribou Cresting; many of which have been there for the running club and the Museum for many years.

Monday, October 19, 2015

October Artist of the Month: Barry Warne

October Artist of the Month Barry Warne with some of his fantastic landscapes
Landscape artist– Barry Warne
The month of October features works from local artist Barry Warne who draws inspiration for his work from his awareness and appreciation of the natural world.  His landscapes are evocative of his memories of  life in England and of the Peace Country that has become home for he and his family  since 1957.
Acrylics and oils are his choice medium for the detailed farms, valleys and roadways he paints  but he also photographs a favorite bird or two.  An added feature to each piece is the handcrafted frame and matte that Barry makes himself, as one who enjoys working with wood.
Barry paints for the enjoyment and as a remainder to the viewer to look carefully at the natural world around us. With this large world view, he directs the proceeds of his sales to the Alzheimer’s Society research work.
Works are for sale and can be viewed, without a fee, until the end of October, 2015.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Archaeology Talks!

The Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre is pleased to host Todd Kristensen, archaeologist from Alberta Culture, on October 15th, 2015 between 4pm & 5pm and again from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Todd is inviting everyone to bring in stone tool and other specimens found in the area.
Todd will talk about four recent projects he has been involved with: ancient fishing research, Alberta’s northern boating, ancient hunting, and sourcing the obsidian quarries from which pieces in the Peace have been found. Todd is also very interested in viewing stone tools found in this area so if you have items, please consider  bringing them in to be photographed by Todd.
Obsidian tools found in Alberta from quarries in British Columbia and the US Pacific Northwest.
If you would like to read about some of his recent research, please visit Alberta Culture at https://albertashistoricplaces.wordpress.com/