Monday, March 15, 2010

Upcoming Exhibit: Play On!

The staff at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre are gearing up for our next exhibit: Play On! A History of Sport and Culture in Peace River. The exhibit goes hand in hand with the Peace River, Grimshaw and area hosting the the 2010 Alberta Summer Games this year. We will be highlighting summer and winter sports as well as dances, theater, cultural experiences, and music. As always, we invite and encourage members of the community with relevant items to bring them in for the exhibit. Examples could include sports equipment, medals, uniforms, photos or documents. Also, promotional posters, programs, recordings and photographs from performances would be lovely. Some choose to donate the items and others choose to loan the item for the length of the exhibit, we are just as pleased for both!

Also, if you have memories or stories from these types of events, we would love to hear them and add them to our knowledge of the history of sport and culture in Peace River.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Spirit of the Peace Museums Group meets in Peace River

The Spirit of the Peace Museums Group was started in December of 1989 and celebrated its 20th anniversary just last year! The group consists of approximately 60 members (both museums and individuals) who meet quarterly and discuss the issues that face us, share our goings-ons and just support each other.

On March 1st 2010, we met at the Senior's Drop-in Centre and had a lovely time. David Leonard was in attendance to speak to what the province is doing regarding culture, we discussed the upcoming forum with Alberta Museums Association regarding their strategic planning process and did our regular round table discussion on what projects we were working on.

The Senior's Centre made delicious biscuits for breakfast and soup and sandwiches for lunch. A tour of the Museum followed the meeting.

For more information about some of the Museums involved in the Spirit of the Peace, please see our brochure.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

PRADS African Night a Success: Part 2

The Peace River African Descendents Society (PRADS), which was started in 2009, held cultural experience with dinner and music on Saturday, Feburary 20th. Laura Gloor of the Museum had been invited to talk about black pioneers in the area. The information from her wonderful presentation has been reproduced here in two parts!

Part 2: The Kelly Family

The timeline for the Kelly family is uncertain. It is believed that Mr. and Mrs. Dan Kelly brought their family to Peace River in the 1920's. We can only speculate that the Kelly family were likely part of the original wave of Black American immigrants to Canada's West between 1908 and 1911. Dan Kelly was known as "Nigger" Dan, years after Dan Williams, who was also known by that name.

Dan Kelly hauled the honey wagon in Peace River (an essential service that pumped out residential outhouses ). He and his family lived just outside the Belle Petroleum Centre in a house still standing today. This same house was purchased from the Kelly's by Dave and Johanna Steedsman in 1937 and Dave also took over the job of hauling the honey wagon. Near this home was a popular sledding hill for the children of Peace River colloquially known as "Nigger" Hill even as late as the early 1960s.
Unfortunately, none of the names of the other members of Dan's family are known, except that one of his daughter's name was Emma. It is known though that his three daughters had beautiful singing voices. It seems the family moved to Toronto to give the girls a better chance to pursue their singing careers and that Dan later returned to Peace River on his own. He lived with a single mother in town, and it was believed that a child resulted from this union.

Here are some more pictures from the PRADS event:

The band, Ezeadi Onukwulu & One Human Race, had everyone up and dancing!