Monday, December 30, 2013

Celebrations and Masks!

Ceremonial life of the West Coast Nations is vibrantly on exhibit at the Peace River Museum! Thanks to a generous loan of artifacts from Dr. David Welch, the Museum is featuring, amongst West Coast and Plains First Nations objects, a colourful collection of West Coast masks.

Northwest Coast First Nations artists are renowned for their carvings, especially of totem poles. Totem poles are carved for many reasons. They can represent clans or families or serve mortuary, memorial, shaming or welcoming purposes. Similarly, dances performed with masks can serve specific purposes and have different meanings.

In wintertime, Coastal First Nations villages were visited by supernatural beings or spirits. This was the time of year when villagers would feast, dance, sing and for some, be initiated into secret societies. Dances performed with masks during these times were representative of the supernatural entities that were visiting the village from their caves, forests, waters and skies.

Animal and human figures appear on both carved totems and masks. Many animals, supernatural beings and spirits are carved with human features; similarly, humans are sometimes carved with non-human features. This blending of animal, spiritual and human characteristics is known as anthropomorphism. Features on anthropomorphized carvings can be enlarged, shrunk or distorted in order to fit the distinct shape of the material being carved.

The Portrait Mask is carved to represent a personal experience and here is painted in the principal colours red and black. The Bumble Bee Mask is black, red and yellow. Colours traditionally used on masks were primarily blue, green, black and red from natural pigments. Black was created using lignite, charcoal and graphite. Red came from pulverized ochre or hematite and the blues and green were derived from copper minerals.

The Sense of the Land And Its People : A Private Collection is on exhibit until September 2014.
Bumble bee mask 
Portrait mask 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter Solstice Celebration cancelled

The Peace River Museum and the underground Music Society have made a tough call and cancelled tomorrow's solstice event at Riverfront Park. We had planned to have food, musical entertainment and a bonfire to celebrate the Winter Solstice and the transfer of 16 year's worth of posters and photographs from the underground Music Society to the Peace River Museum and Archives.

As it is predicted to be quite cold tomorrow (and then you add in the windchill), we feel it is best to cancel part of the festivities.

However, the organizers will still be there from 3:30 - 4:30pm with a bonfire. So, you're missing the musical entertainment and the food, but please do come out and join us to watch the sunset and experience the solstice.

The Museum would like to extend a sincere thank you, not only to the underground Music Society for this donation, but also to all of our donors from 2013, both for objects and their time.

Our Museum works as well as it does because we have so many supportive people around us: our partners, our donors and our supporters.

Have a great end of 2013 and a fantastic beginning to 2014 from all of the staff at the Peace River Museum.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Artifact of the Week - St. Augustine Mission nativity scene

This week's featured artifact is a crèche (also known as a nativity scene) that originates from the St. Augustine Roman Catholic Mission. It was used yearly at the Mission as one of their Christmas decorations. 

A nativity scene is the depiction of the birth of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Nativity scenes are created worldwide at Christmas and are shown in such places as churches, schools, museums and shopping malls. This tradition dates back to 1223 when St. Francis of Assisi allegedly created the first nativity scene in a cave near Greccio, Italy. He created a live depiction of the Biblical story using humans and animals. 

St. Francis' scene was so popular that his idea was copied by many throughout the Catholic world. In fact, a mere 100 years later, all churches in Italy were expected to display a nativity scene at Christmas. By this time, statues and figurines had replaced live humans and animals and the scenes were far more intricate. 

By the 1800s, the tradition of depicting the birth of Jesus had spread past the Catholic world and was gaining popularity in the wider Christian community. The scenes were beginning to be marketed in various forms for public sale, and were made of wood, terracotta, paper, wax and ivory. 

In celebration of the Christmas season, the Museum has created a Christmas exhibit. We've put the nativity scene on display along with a decorated tree and a roaring fireplace complete with stockings and toys. 

Come by and visit us over the holidays. We are open until December 24th, and reopen again on December 27th. We will be closed on January 1st, 2014.  
Several figures from PRMA 77.822. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book reading and signing with Dianne Ireland

Dianne Ireland’s recently published book “Grandmama’s Treasured Favorites & Traditional Recipes” is filled with interesting stories and tasty recipes. These recipes may be those that Dianne’s family has made for years, but all of her readers will find a recipe or a story that evokes a memory for them of their own family traditions. Perhaps it’s the Christmas Eggnog, maybe the beef stew, or even Dianne’s story of hunting for the first and only time.

Dianne was born in Peace River and grew up on a farm east of Grimshaw, Alberta. Dianne married Jim in 1968 and together they have had a great life with their children and now their grandchildren.
Writing and publishing this book has given Dianne an opportunity to share many stories as well as favorite and traditional recipes with not only her family and friends, but also anyone else who enjoys cooking or baking for their loved ones.
Join us this Saturday, December 14th, 2013, from 2 – 4 pm at the Peace River Museum, where Dianne will regale us with stories and recipes. Dianne's book is available in the Museum gift shop for $39.95. The gift shop accepts cash or cheque only. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Are you ready to burn away the winter blues?

On December 21st, 2013 we will celebrate the winter solstice. Scientifically speaking, this is the day when the sun appears at its lowest point in the sky. It is also the shortest day and longest night of the year. For all those who prefer summer, this doesn't sound good, but hey, starting on December 22nd, the days will begin to get longer and the nights shorter. I'd say that's worth celebrating, even if we are still quite a ways away from summer.

The Peace River Museum and Archives and the underground Music Society thought to team up, not only to celebrate the winter solstice, but also to celebrate a significant donation of event posters from the Society to the Museum and Archives. These posters chronicle 16 years worth of events hosted by the underground Music Society.

If you come by Riverfront Park on Saturday, December 21st from 4 to 7 pm, you will find the Museum and the Society gathered together with hot dogs and delicious hot apple cider as well as a roaring bonfire. We invite you all to experience the solstice day with us. In addition, we'd like to ask you to help us celebrate by getting involved. We are looking for storytellers, musicians, poetry readers and for tales of how the solstice is celebrated around the world.

Please come by the museum or call us to sign up on the list of buskers for the evening's festivities. We invite everyone to sign up for a ten (10) minute slot.

The Museum can be found at 10302 99 Street in Peace River, or we can be reached at 780-624-4261 or
PRMA 2013.020 This is one of the event posters donated by the underground Music Society.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Artifact of the Week - Toy hobby horse

It’s December! For those that celebrate Christmas, this means stockings, baking, twinkling lights, a decorated tree, and presents! In honour of the Christmas season, the Museum has once again put together a Christmas display. This year, we’ve gone bigger and better. When you come and visit the display you will find a fireplace with stockings, wrapped packages, old time candy, toys, Christmas cards, a decorated tree with multi-coloured lights and a nativity scene.

One Christmassy aspect that we’ve examined in this display is gift giving and the types of gifts people gave and received across the 20th century. So, this week, our featured artifact is a toy hobby horse that was donated to the museum by Jocelyne Forget. This hobby horse is from the 1950s. Nowadays, children might have toy cars they can ride around in, just like their parents. In earlier days, before there were cars, children would have hobby horses to imitate their parent’s modes of transportation.

The term “hobby” goes back to the Middle Ages and refers to a small pony-like horse. Cart horses were primarily called hobby horses. As toys, hobby horses were also known as stick horses or cock horses. The term “cock horse” relates back to the nursery rhyme “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross.”

Come by and visit the Museum to see this hobby horse as well as the larger Christmas display. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Midnight Madness in the Museum Gift Shop

This Friday, November 29th, is the 2013 Annual Christmas Parade and Moonlight Madness event. The Museum is participating in both the parade and the shopping event. On the Town of Peace River float, keep an eye out for the Twelve Foot Davis outfit, a buffalo coat, snowshoes, skates and of course a pair of woolen socks for warmth!

After enjoying all those lovely festive floats and seeing Santa Claus make his way down Main Street, come by the Peace River Museum Gift Shop to warm up a bit and get some Christmas shopping done. We offer locally created gifts and history books.

The Museum will be open until 8 pm on Friday.

Artifact of the Week - Woven hat and Child's moccasins

This week’s featured artifacts are a woven hat and moccasins. These artifacts are a part of a larger donation from the Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of Athabasca. The objects come from St. Peter’s Residential School in Hay River, N.W.T., ca. 1895-98. Some of the other artifacts in this donation include birchbark rogans, a powder horn, dolls clothing made of deer hide, moccasins and a beaded tobacco bag.

The hat is woven of spruce or tamarack roots and decorated with a band of dyed porcupine quills. This hat was created by the Mackenzie River First Nations people in 1898.

The child’s moccasins are made of hide and decorated with fur and beading. They were made by the residents of St. Peter’s Residential School in 1898.

The Museum is featuring a new exhibit filled with Plains and West Coast First Nations objects, all from the personal collection of local Peace River doctor, David Welch. As an addition to all of Dr. Welch's pieces, the Museum has added some of those found in our First Nations collection. All of these wonderful pieces can be found in the Main and Fur Traders galleries at the Museum.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Artist of the Month - Conrad Helfenstein

This month the Museum is pleased to feature the beautifully evocative landscapes of Conrad Helfenstein. Conrad has 10 of his landscapes on exhibit at the Museum for the month of November. He uses acrylic on canvas to create scenes that bring forth in his viewers strong feelings and emotions.

Please come and visit the museum to view these stunning pieces.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Artifact of the Week – The Home Cook Book, First Edition, 1877

This first edition copy of the Home Cook Book from 1877 is a true piece of Canadian history. Devised by a group of ladies, the publication and sale of the book was highly successful in raising money for the benefit of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Over one hundred and twenty-five thousand copies were sold in its first eight years on the market: a remarkable feat for the Victorian age. As the first Canadian fundraising cookbook and the first Canadian cookbook to be published in foreign countries, the Home Cook Book helped spark a global tradition of compiling and publishing cookbooks to raise money for a good cause.

A brown book with a geometric, diamond pattern across the front. In elaborate script, the words "The Home Cookbook" are written. The spine is worn.
2009.019.002, gift of Len Hills
In accordance with the practices of its day, recipes within the book often lack instructions as it was assumed any well-raised woman would know what to do when it came to mixing cake batter or preserving pickles. Measurements are also not precise, with phrases such as add enough flour or spice to your taste appearing frequently. A slow, moderate or quick oven is requested -this being the only indication of how hot to build the woodstove fire to achieve the correct temperature. Instructions for making cleaning products, beauty products and medications grace the back of the book, while a section in the front provides advice on etiquette, housekeeping and essential kitchen utensils.
This first edition copy of the Home Cook Book was obviously well-loved and belonged to Len Hill’s mother. Mr. Hill remarked that some of his favourite meals were made from recipes found in this book. For more information on Len Hill, see last week's Record-Gazette (Nov. 7, 2013).
A reprint of the Home Cook Book (with an introduction by Elizabeth Driver) is currently published by White Cap Books and is available for purchase from most major book retailers.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Heritage 101 - How to care for a building with historic character

The Museum and the Heritage Places Committee are hosting "Heritage 101" this Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at Athabasca Hall, from 7 - 9 pm.

Heritage 101 is a unique workshop for anyone who owns or works with older home or who appreciates historic architecture. In this workshop, Laura Pasacreta and Chelsea Dunk of Donald Luxton & Associates, Heritage Consultants, will take you through the following topics:
1. Why conserve older buildings?
2. An overview of Peace River's architecture.
3. Peace River's Heritage Conservation Program including our regulatory framework as well as the role of the Heritage Resources Committee and granting.
4. Planning for a Heritage Project, including basic techniques for restoring houses including siding, window restoration and historic colours, etc.

The Town of Peace River's Heritage Places Committee, coordinated by the Peace River Museum, has contracted Donald Luxton & Associates for the last 3 years to conduct inventories of heritage buildings and landscapes, as well as creating the framework for property owners of heritage buildings to apply to Town Council for Municipal Heritage Site designation. This program is funded by the Town of Peace River, with grant support from The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.  

Heritage 101 is being offered in Athabasca Hall, one of Peace River's unique heritage treasures. This building was built in 1936 with funds provided by an anonymous donor in England to the Anglican Church for a community hall. The Town is still appreciative of this donor 77 years later. This building has since been a renowned venue for theatrical and musical performances, with almost 50 years of Peace Players productions gracing the stage.
St. James Anglican Cathedral and Athabasca Hall, circa late 1940s 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Artifact of the Week – Photograph of WWI Recruits from Peace River

This photo, taken in 1914, depicts four Peace River Army recruits in crisp new uniforms. When Britain declared war on Germany in August of that year, public opinion held that the entire affair would be short-lived, and the boys would be home in time for Christmas. The optimistic expressions seen here reflect the attitudes of the time: war was still largely perceived as an adventurous opportunity and an excellent chance for young men to see the world.
73.550.27 Gift of Mrs. E. M. Blake
As the war dragged on over four long years, opinions began to change. The impact of trench warfare combined with modern technology was both unexpected and devastating. Newfangled machines like tanks and machine guns, scientific developments like mustard gas, and a disturbing malady known only as ‘shell shock’ sent many soldiers home with horrific and often incurable injuries. Others were not so lucky: more than sixty thousand Canadians lost their lives in the First World War. By the time the conflict ended in 1918, the idea of war as a romantic notion had literally been killed in action.
Roy Foote, seen on the far right, is 22 years old in this photograph. He died two years later in 1916, likely during the Battle of the Somme. His body was not recovered. Roy Foote is currently memorialized on the Vimy Ridge Memorial Monument in Pas de Calais, France.
The identity and fate of the other soldiers in the photograph is unknown.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Artifact of the Week – Silk-Embroidered French Greeting Card

An embroidered card featuring a large red and pink rose with green leaves tied with a lavender ribbon. A blue and yellow decorative border surrounds the bottom-half of the flower. 'X-Mas Greetings' is embroidered below in baby-blue thread. A card with green, white and red decorations reads 'Merry Christmas' and is separate from the embroidered card.
"Poppy" Joe Newman Fonds, 73.561.X.1
Embroidered postcards are believed to have originated in Austria as early as 1903, but they gained their popularity and reached new artistic heights in the hands of the French. By 1907, France was a main producer of the cards, which were hand-stitched by Belgian and French women on strips of silk that were then incorporated into a cardboard backing. Embroidered cards became wildly popular during the First World War (1914-1919), when lonesome soldiers would purchase them as souvenirs to send to loved ones back home, or to keep as reminders of friendlier, cosier days while surrounded by the misery of the trenches.

Close-up of the red rose. Red, pale pink and bright pink threads can be seen. Two different shades of green are used in the leaves and a white rosebud sits in the top right corner.
Detail: 73.561.X.1
This example from the Peace River Museum and Archives is among the more elaborate embroidered card designs known to exist: the silk is styled in an envelope fashion, allowing the small, sentimental greeting to be tucked lovingly inside. The back of the card provides space for a postcard-style message. This particular card is in excellent condition and still retains the original brilliance and rich colours it would have displayed a hundred years ago. The identity of the sender (a woman named May) is now lost to history, but it is known that the card belonged to Joseph “Poppy Joe” Newman, who collected postcards while serving overseas in the First World War.

Close-up of the lavender ribbon. It has been embroidered with several tiny loops chained together.
Detail: 73.561.X.1
The card likely originates from anywhere between 1912 and 1926. It will be on display at the Peace River Museum and Archives in December as part of the upcoming Holiday Exhibit.

Message on the back of the card reads:
Wishing you both a merry Christmas and the best of luck in the new Year. From May

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Food for Thought - Panel Discussion

October is a month in which food is prominent in our minds and for our taste buds! 

Thanksgiving and Halloween bring to mind fresh pumpkins for pies and carving and succulent turkeys.  
And on that point, the Museum would like to remind you that this is the last month for the exhibit Roots of the Peace: a bountiful harvest. To conclude this successful exhibit on the heritage of producing food on a quarter section of land, we are hosting a panel of insightful, contemporary ‘food gatherers and producers’ to talk about food security and our connection to the food we eat today.
This will be a PechaKucha style of presenting insightful responses to the topic (five minutes for each presenter) and will conclude with a full discussion between audience and presenters.

A big thank you to the following local panelists who will bring thought and knowledge to the topic of sourcing local food:
               Landscaping with edible plants by Nancy Blayone
               Medicinal plants by Vic and Louise Ploc
               Food co-operatives by Annette Rosendal of Peacefull pantry
               Shares in organic gardening by Lisa Lundgard of The Veggie Patch
               Hunting and wild meat harvesting by Verne MacRoberts
               Our local Food Bank by Lieutenant Kevin Elsasser

This is a free event but donations to the Food Bank will be welcome.

On October 19th, come by the Museum for coffee and an engaging conversation at 10:30 am about food in the Peace!

For more information contact the Museum at 780-624-4261 or
Fresh, organically grown vegetables from Peacefull Pantry.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Artifact of the Week - Ruby MacKinnon's Marlin Rifle

This week’s featured artifact is a 1893 Marlin .38/55 rifle. This was Ruby MacKinnon’s last remaining rifle. It was eventually gifted to Verne MacRoberts, a good friend of hers, who donated it to the Museum, along with the following story.

Ruby, a housewife and hunter, used this rifle while hunting with her husband Harry MacKinnon, a tower man, around the Moose Portage area, near Smith, Alberta. Ruby recorded the game she took with stock notches. In total there are 52 notches. The 19 on top represent moose with the remaining 33 on the bottom representing deer.  

On one side of the stock, there are 3 coins set into the wood, from 1957 – 1959. These denote the years that Ruby and Harry spent at Fort Vermilion. On the reverse side of the stock is a photograph of Ruby and Harry and a plaque that reads the following: 

“Ruby MacKinnon’s Rifle 
1893 – Marlin - .38/55 
Moose Portage (Smith) Alta. 
Housewife – Towerwoman – Friend 
Donated by Vern MacRoberts – Peace River”

PRMA 86.1468.1

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Artifact of the Week and Monthly Art Exhibit - works by Sonia Rosychuk

This week, I’m bringing you the Artifact of the Week and the Monthly Art Exhibit all in one post. Each of these subjects features the creativity and innovation of local artist Sonia Rosychuk. 

Sonia installing her Art Wall exhibit
Our Art Wall rotates monthly, always showcasing the works of a local or regional artist. This month Sonia has lent us her talent in the form of metal works, paintings, and sculptures. Sonia’s work can be viewed at the Museum until the end of October.
Sonia (back) and fellow artist Val Palmer (front) installing the October Art Wall exhibit 
We may only have the Art Wall works displayed here for a month, but we are fortunate enough to have one piece by Sonia here full time. The metal teepee sitting on Museum grounds, in front of the building, was designed and created by Sonia.

Sonia began creating her piece “Smoke Signals” with the flat metal letters for “MUSEUM” that the Peace River Correctional Centre had fabricated. From there, the idea for a teepee came to her in a dream. She incorporated the letters onto the internal fire pit, which was surrounded by a metal teepee constructed of reclaimed rebar, found metal pieces and early farm tools from community members. The whole structure sits on a bed of river rocks, symbolizing the Peace River and its importance to the town’s history.
Smoke Signals sculpture created by Sonia Rosychuk

To the Museum, the “Smoke Signals” sculpture is more than our outdoor sign: it embodies the history of the Town of Peace River and the surrounding areas. This sculpture has been a recognized Peace River Museum symbol since 2008 and we look forward to many more years with this innovative and symbolic piece of art. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Artifact of the Week - Clock from the D.A. Thomas

This week’s featured artifact is a clock from the D.A. Thomas. The clock is on loan to the museum from John Nergaard. The D.A Thomas was a paddle wheeler that steamed up and down the Peace from 1916 until 1930. The D.A. Thomas was considered the “Titanic” of the Peace River, because of its size and elegance. At 161.9 feet long, she was the longest boat ever to ply the waters of the Peace River. The lovely staterooms onboard featured electricity, as well as hot and cold running water! Finally, the fine white linen and silver must not be forgotten from the dining lounge.

In June of 1930, after braving the chutes and suffering damage, the D.A. Thomas made her way to Fort Fitzgerald where she would stay. Some parts were sold for scrap, others installed in other boats, and others still used by other people or companies. Eventually, the paddle wheel would make its way over to us at the Museum, to be permanently displayed on our grounds. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Culture Scene 2013!

Culture Scene 2013 happens tomorrow!

There are many, many activities to get involved in. Check out the Town of Peace River's facebook for the schedule of events. 

Come out and experience some or all of them. You will find museum staff at Athabasca Hall, acting as co-host for the performers and artists on stage, from 1 - 3:30 pm. In this fantastic line-up you will find Metis jiggers, a guitarist soloist and many more. 

At the Museum you will find members of the Valley Peacemakers Quilt Guild. They will be here from 10 am - 1 pm, showing off their beautiful quilted works, and selling tickets for quilt raffles. There are 3 prizes to be won, including a king sized quilt, a Christmas table runner and place mat set, and a table topper. All of the money raised during this raffle goes towards the Raise the Roof campaign for St. James Anglican Cathedral. The draw will be held November 28, 2013 at the Peace River Library.

Visual, performing, and literary arts are being celebrated province-wide for Culture days, September 27-29th, 2013, and no less so in the Peace Country!

 Both of these quilts are prizes for the raffle. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Artifact of the Week - Wang Computer

This week’s featured artifact is a Wang Computer. As the Museum receives an upgrade to our system, in the form of a new server, it seems fitting to feature a computer artifact.

The Wang Computer was donated by Meyers, Norris & Penny, LLP. When the MNP accounting firm was preparing to move offices in 2010, they found this Wang computer in an old storage room and called the museum to see if we might be interested. We didn’t have a Wang Computer, so we were happy to add this important piece of technology history into our collection.

Wang Laboratories was created by Dr. An Wang and Dr. G. Y. Chu in 1951. Dr. Wang directed this company from its inception until they filed for bankruptcy in 1992. Following bankruptcy they re-emerged as Wang Global, until they were bought out by Getronics of the Netherlands in 1999.  
PRMA 2010.009.001

Currently, the Wang Computer is on display in the Peace River Gallery with other technology items, such as a typewriter, a videocamera, and a television with a pretty tiny screen. Visit the museum to see this and many other displays. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Artifact of the Week - HBC Scotch Whiskey bottle

This week’s featured artifact came from the Goulet family who found it on their land in the Three Creeks area, near the old Cadotte Trail. It is a Scotch Whiskey Bottle from the Hudson’s Bay Company. There are records of scotch being shipped to North America as early as 1701, which is 92 years before Sir Alexander Mackenzie or any other European men made their way through Peace River. The age of this bottle is unknown.
PRMA 2009.057.001

There is currently a small spirits and alcohol display at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre, and we invite everyone down to come check it out! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Artist of the Month - Jenny Bakewell

For the month of September, the beautiful photographs of Jenny Bakewell are gracing the art wall in the Museum. 

Jenny Amara Bakewell is a self-taught artist, born in the Northwest Territories. She attributes her love for photography to the arrival of her first daughter, and since then it has only grown with the arrival of her second and third daughters. 

Jenny's love and passion for photography can be summed up in the following quotation "When I experience life, my first thought is always 'how would this look through my camera'. The fresh energy, the excitement of catching the lure in the subject is what drives me. I have no limits."

Come down to the Museum during the month of September to view Jenny's works.  

Artifact of the Week - Ladies Victorian boots

This week’s featured artifact is a pair of ladies high button boots from the Victorian era. The boots were found in a local building in Peace River and have been dated to roughly 1900.

The Victorian era, encompassing the time that Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 until her death in 1901, was a time of many changes in fashion. These types of boots were worn to cover a woman’s ankles. Skirts were long, to the floor, and a higher boot meant extra protection in hiding a woman’s lower limbs. Lower limbs had to be covered, lest the woman be thought scandalous.

Ladies high button boots, PRMA 69.379
These boots were so tightly laced that they required button hooks to get them done up. This button hook belonged to Jean Cameron Kelley, who came to Peace River in 1913 as the second teacher for Peace River Crossing. She replaced Miss Anderson, who had married, only 6 months after becoming the first school teacher.

Button hook, PRMA 2008.098.003

The Peace River Museum has a large and varied collection of textiles and accessories. Drop by the Museum to see some of our collections and stay tuned to the blog for further fashion items. The first week of October is Archives Week and this years theme is Fashion. So, it will be only fitting that I post a fashionable object that week. Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Artifact of the Week - Dorothy Wittmeyer's wedding dress

This week’s featured artifact is the dress that Dorothy Andrew wore, on July 2, 1955, when she married John Gray Wittmeyer. This beautiful wedding dress is made of taffeta and lace. Based on the inside seams of the dress and stitching, we believe this dress was likely homemade. Perhaps Dorothy made it herself, or she had someone make it for her, but it isn’t likely that it was commercially made.

Dorothy and her 5 siblings were all born and raised in Peace River, by their parents, Bill and Agnes Andrew. Bill was a master blacksmith, machinist and welder, while Agnes spent her time raising the children, curling and cooking a fine meal.

Dorothy and Gray spent their married life in Colorado and Oregon. She may not have lived in Peace River for quite a few years, but when making up her will, Dorothy thought of her parents and her hometown. Upon her passing in 2011, it was revealed that Dorothy had bequeathed between $500,000 and 700,000 to a group or groups in the Peace Region that would memorialize her parents. After an arduous process, the recipient of this bequest was the Peace Regional Outreach Campus, in order to purchase and improve a building to house their school, programs and daycare. The Grand Opening for the new Andrew Education Centre is today (September 3, 2013), and Peace River is pleased to welcome back to the Peace Country, Rotarians from Eugene-Delta, Oregon, who along with Peace River Rotarians, administered this bequest and chose the deserving recipient.

Dorothy and Gray enjoyed a wonderful life together, full of love, laughter and memories. We invite you down to the Museum to see this dress on exhibit, along with photos of the Andrew and Wittmeyer families. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Artifact of the Week - Meteorite donated by the Hills family

This week’s feature artifact was chosen because of its connection to Dr. Leonard (Len) Hills, a well-known geologist at the University of Calgary. Dr. Hills was born in Judah and passed away on August 4, 2013 in Calgary. Dr. Hills achieved great things throughout his career as a geologist and influenced a great many lives. He will be missed.

This meteorite was donated by the Hills family. The meteorite is part of a large meteorite that exploded and fell over Bruderheim, a small town in Central Alberta, on March 4th, 1960.

PRMA X87.1522.1 Meteorite
The meteorite is in our geology display, along with several other treasures that have been found in the Peace Region, and we invite you down to the museum to see for yourself!

In memory of Dr. Leonard Hills

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Artifact of the Week - Projectile Point

The museum is starting a new weekly feature where we will be highlighting an artifact of the week. The museum has a collection of over 8,000 artifacts, each of which are historically significant and feature a story. Every exhibit that we create features some of these objects but we thought we would bring even more objects out for you to see, in a digital format. Enjoy this new feature and do let us know if there is a specific object you would like to see.  

This week’s featured artifact is a projectile point that would have been used either as a spear point or a dart point and is likely over 5,000 years old. It was found by collector Hans Huber near his farm, between Peace River and the airport. This is an atypical piece simply due to the colors of the material that was used. Most chert or flint found in the area is black in color, but this piece is filled with whites, greys, blues, and greens.

68.17.19 Projectile Point
This is only one of our many stone tools on display, and we encourage you to come down to the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre to see the rest of our excellent collection of stone tools. Feel free to ask about our stone tool collection and to visit our library for more information on archaeology in Alberta. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

A New Focus in our Natural History Display !

Over the summer we have been rearranging our natural history display to give both a more comprehensive overview of the regions natural history as well as giving more information about the artifacts. We rearranged our geology display, giving it better lighting and more identification, with an emphasis on the oil industry. Our osteology (bone) display now not only speaks to the bison and other ice age animals, but also several different animals that come from the north Peace Region with an emphasis on comparative craniology and dentition. We also identified more from our palaeontology display, which emphasizes ancient sea life in Alberta.  Finally, we improved our archaeology display, giving visitors the chance to see almost every angle of our stone tools.
Our Natural History display. 

The display features everything from dinosaur bones, to a meteorite, to a partial bison spine, to arrowheads, and even the tooth of a woolly mammoth.  We invite you down to the museum to get up close and personal with our artifacts and to learn from our new display.
The Osteology display case featuring bison bones and other animals. 

Thank you to our speakers!

The Museum has been very fortunate to have two fantastic speakers over the last week. Both talented, informative, and fun speakers!

Eric Moller and Stephanie Capyk of Cardinal Creek Honey graced us with their sweet presence last Saturday, August 10th. They regaled us with stories of beekeeping and the various practices used in beekeeping.

Last night, August 15th, Teresa Griffith joined us to tell tales from her new book "York Boat Captain: 18 Life-Changing Days on the Peace River". Through laughter, stories, and fun, Captain Overboard (as she is sometimes known) shared some of her time on the Peace River with her audience, just enough to entice us to buy the book and read it for ourselves.  
Teresa Griffith signing her book for a fan. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"York Boat Captain" Book Launch with Teresa Griffith

Have you ever met an author who was also a York boat captain? No? Well, after you meet Captain Teresa Griffith, you will no longer be able to say that.

Teresa had the audacity to become the first woman captain of a York boat – a position reserved for men in the heyday of fur trading and York boats in the 1800s. In fact, the crew of the fur-bearing boat was all men. Leap ahead to 2011. We  have not only a female captain, but also a female crew member – not token females, but hardworking, skilful participants carrying their weight literally and figuratively – Teresa as captain (sweep) and Cheryll Ferguson-Welke as oarsman along with her male counterparts.

Teresa Griffith’s book – York Boat Captain, 18 Life-changing Days on the Peace River is not a women’s story, as such, but rather a people story – a  documentation of the human spirit – merging skill with emulating the activities of days gone by – business and survival.

In Teresa’s compelling, spellbinding and informative book, she makes what might be considered mundane – the prep work – fascinating – a good lead up to the adventure of the 18 days on the Peace River for whom all involved was a life-changing experience.

Teresa’s well-written, attention-getting work is a darn good read.

York Boat landing at Riverfront Park, Peace River, June 2011.
Photo by Beth Wilkins, Researcher, Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre.  

Please see for yourself, at the launching of the book York Boat Captain, 18 Life-changing Days on the Peace RiverThursday, August 15, 7:30 p.m. at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre. Captain Teresa Griffith looks forward to chatting with you about her adventure and signing her book, which will be for sale. Cash or cheque is acceptable.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Art of Beekeeping

Erik Moller and Stephanie Capyk of Cardinal Creek Honey practice the gentle art of beekeeping in the County of Northern Lights with Erik’s father Knut Moller. They describe themselves as follows:  “We're a couple of beekeepers living on the edge of the Alberta prairie and northern boreal forest, one foot firmly planted in parts northern, the other always itching to get onto the ocean and into the mountains”

The Museum’s current exhibit Roots in the Peace, features a contemporary photography exhibit of local organic producers in the Peace Country and Cardinal Creek Honey can be seen in this collection. To compliment this exhibit, Erik and Stephanie will be speaking about their experiences at the Peace River Museum August 10th, 2013 at 3pm.  This is a free event and will undoubtedly be ‘sweet’!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Walking Tours to celebrate Heritage Day - August 5, 2013

Heritage Day is August 5th, 2013! This annual Albertan holiday was created in 1974 by the Alberta Government in order to celebrate the cultural heritage of Alberta and all of its people. This day is celebrated each year on the first Monday in August.
Staff at the Museum and Archives are celebrating our local heritage in style, by offering three separate Historic Walking Tours for Heritage Day. You can learn so much by taking a stroll - things you may walk by everyday but never think twice about! Now, you get the chance to get some of those questions answered by joining us on one or all of these historic walks.
The schedule is as follows:
               11am   Learn about the Pioneers of the Peace with a tour of Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.  Meet at the cemetery.
              1:30pm   The town’s built heritage will be the focus of a stroll along the historic streetscape of 102 Street.  Meet at the Museum.
               1 - 4pm   Interpretive tours of the NAR Station - drop by anytime.
Dress for the weather as tours will go rain or shine! No pre-registration required.
For more information on the tours, please contact the Museum at 780-624-4261 or or

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Heritage Places Open House at Peacefest

This Saturday, during Peacefest 2013, the Heritage Places Committee (HPC) will be on hand, ready to answer any questions you might have about heritage buildings and landscapes in town. Information about the heritage places designation process and the work that has been completed to date by the Committee and the heritage consulting firm Donald Luxton and Associates, can be viewed.

The HPC would like to collect any stories and information that you may have about heritage properties in town to help us appreciate the families and businesses associated with each place. Or, maybe you have a suggestion for a heritage property that we should study in the future.

This Municipal Heritage Places Program started in Peace River 3 years ago. The first year, we studied 10 properties, including such places as Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the Telegraph Office and Athabasca Hall. This year, the program continues with 12 new properties for study, including The Ground Level Youth Centre, Ruth Kidder’s home and Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church.

If you have any stories to share about heritage properties, stop by and see our committee members from 11 am to 6 pm at Riverfront Park, this Saturday, July 13, 2013.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Free Silver Maple Trees

Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Peace River Museum was gifted 6 lovely Silver Maples from Sustainable Resources! We would love these to go to those in the area that would be willing to plant and look after these beautiful trees. As noted below, these are maple syrup producing trees! If you are interested in having one of these trees, please drop by the Museum. We are open seven days a week until the end of August from 10 am to 5 pm.

According to Sustainable Resources, "The Silver Maple is a native of Canada's deciduous forest. Usually found along the banks of rivers and lakes, several of these trees have adapted well to the Peace Country...The Silver / Sugar maple trees served as inspiration in the creation of our current national flag which flew for the first time in 1965.

The tree is capable of reaching heights of 20 - 30 metres and a diameter of up to 1.5 metres. And yes, in 15 to 20 years, you should be able to tap this tree to produce maple syrup. It takes about 35 - 45 litres of sap to produce a single litre of delicious maple syrup."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Museum Summer Events

June Artist                     The artists for the month of June are carver and painter Dave Matilpi and metal sculptor David Wilson. Both artists derive inspiration from the natural world with bold imagery. This is an exceptional exhibit!

June – October              Roots of the Peace – a bountiful harvest, is the latest exhibit at the Museum depicting the early story of mixed farming in the Peace as well as featuring a contemporary look at local organic producers and gardeners. Watch for announcements of speakers during the summer – bee keepers, gardeners, organic farmers.

July 1st                          The Museum is open on Canada Day and we have free admission!

July 12th-13th             The Heritage Places Committee and the Peace River Museum will be hosting an Open House during PeaceFest to inform the public about Peace River's Municipal Heritage Buildings Program. Learn about what buildings qualify for designation, the benefits to designating your home as a Municipal Heritage home and the process for designation. We will also have information on the heritage buildings in our town.

July – August                 Our Artists of the Month are Sherri Beaton for July and May Brown for August. Come enjoy the great talent of local artists at our monthly exhibit!

                                        Keep an eye out for Heritage days coming up August 3-5th. The Museum will be doing historic walking tours. More details to come.

                                        The Museum will be offering heritage interpretive tours this July and August at the NAR Station, Twelve Foot Davis Gravesite, Mackenzie Cairn and St. Augustine Mission Church. Our partners in this new heritage tourism project include the Municipal District of Peace, Northern Sunrise County, Alberta Infrastructure, Peace River Correction Centre and Young Canada Works. The tours begin July 4th and run until August 22rd - please see schedule below:
From left to right: Mackenzie Cairn, St. Augustine Mission Church, NAR Station, Davis Gravesite
St. Augustine Mission (Shaftesbury Trail, River Lot 22, Highway 684): Sundays 11am - 3pm and Thursdays 10 am - 1 pm
Northern Alberta Railways Station (9409 - 100 St Peace River): Mondays 1pm - 4pm
Mackenzie Cairn (Shaftesbury Trail, River Lot 19, Highway 684): Thursdays 2pm - 4pm
Twelve Foot Davis Gravesite (Fairgrounds Road off Highway 2 south) Fridays 1pm - 4pm

Friday, June 7, 2013

Run for Heritage!

This Sunday, June 9 the Peace River Running Club will be hosting their annual Heritage Run at the Museum. There will be a 5 x 2km Relay, and 5km walk, 5km run, 10km run and a half marathon.
The start time is for the half marathon is 9 am and other runs begin at 9:30 am. The fee is $30 for each runner and registrations can be dropped off at the Museum or sent to:
 P.O. Box 7101
Peace River, AB T8S 1S8.

The Museum is extremely grateful for the work that Running Club does each year to host the Heritage Run! We encourage all walkers and runners to join us for the run and everyone else to come and cheer them on.

See you Sunday!
The runners are off at last year's successful Heritage Run!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alberta Heritage Quilt Project to visit the Peace River Museum

This coming Monday Peace River and area residents have the opportunity to have their historic quilts documented.
Lucie Heins, Assistant Curator at the Royal Alberta Museum, is visiting the Peace River Museum on Monday, May 27th to document heritage quilts from our area for an online database and share her expertise in this area. She is inviting the public to bring in quilts that are pre-1970 and were made in Alberta or brought to Alberta by immigrants.

Lucie will be documenting these quilts between 1 and 4:30 pm with individuals needing to call in advance to book an appointment. Spots are already filling up so please call soon to book at time. Individuals bringing in quilts are asked to also bring in as much information as they can on the quilter and the story of the quilt. The Museum has hosted two quilting exhibits, one in 2008 and 2010 and we know there are so many beautiful quilts in our area! We hope many will take advantage of Lucie's visit to Peace River and to document our history through textiles.

The same evening, Lucie will be speaking on "Quilts and the Settlement of Canada" between 7 and 8 pm at the Museum. This event is free and open to the public. Quilters and textile artists of all levels as well as history buffs will enjoy Lucie's presentation.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Culture Trail

This past Saturday, May 11th, the Museum played both host and participant for the Culture Trail. This idea came about from the ever popular Garden tours that can be found in so many cities and towns. If it can be done for flowers and trees, then it can be done for arts, heritage and culture!

The group started out at our Museum to enjoy a frosty moccachino while admiring the art on the walls and in the cases. The Museum currently has up "A Retrospective of Art in the Peace."This exhibit brings together the work of 47 different artists who have been a part of, are currently a part of, or have inspired others in Peace of Art, formerly the Peace River Art Club.

From the Museum, we hopped in our cars and headed over to Claire's House of Frames, where Claire was on hand to tour us through her space and explain the art on her walls. As a treat, she even brought out some pieces from the back workshop that are waiting to be matted or framed, including some done by her mother.

Next stop on our tour was the Peace River Municipal Library, where we enjoyed juice and coffee and toured the Art Gallery which currently features the pottery of Trudy Plaizier and the woodturning of Mark Ladd.

From there, we headed up Shaftesbury Trail, with a quick stop at Mackenzie Cairn to enjoy the scenery and celebrate the fact that he departed from that spot 220 years ago. After the short historic stop, we continued on to Berwyn 50th Ave Workshop, where Sharon Doucet had 3 of her students working on their respective pieces. As we browsed Sharon's display pieces and watched the students working, we enjoyed chocolate cake and raspberry squares.

Our final stop saw us in Grimshaw, at Peggy's Smith gallery, Stroke of Genius, where Peggy has stocked the shelves with the artistic genius of many local artists. Peggy also explained her own airbrush painting style while the group enjoyed punch, brownies and cream puffs.

The Museum would like to thank all those that hosted our group with stories, artistic tidbits, and tasty treats as well as those that experienced art and culture with us!

Keep your ears open and check back here to see when our next Culture Trail will be.