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.