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 museum@peaceriver.net.
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.