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/ 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Diverse artistic expression takes artist out of comfort zone

Featured for the month of September at the Museum are the diverse works of local artist Jesse Anne Rovang. As one can see, the term diverse is not used lightly in describing Jesse’s creative talents.

There are artists, who seem to be content to work in only a few mediums. There are artists, who are not content unless they have explored a multitude of mediums and styles. There are artists, who are not content because there is more to explore, so little time in which to do it, and so many diverse ways to express their creative nature.

Well, Jesse Anne (née Green) Rovang is one, who, since 1971, has not run out of ways to express her creative talent. The local artist is also Don’s partner in farming, so the countryside and its inhabitants – whether it be flora, fauna or equipment – in all seasons, are stimuli.

Although Jesse’s artwork is diverse, her favourite medium is watercolours. “It is so gentle and expressive.” That may be true, but she has the audacity to venture out of her comfort zone into oils, acrylics (she can become one with it), working with fungi on pulp with blueing (because of the chance she takes each time), leaves, and found antlers and horns.

Her works have sold widely and been applauded, not only locally, but also worldwide and may be seen in many corporate offices throughout the province and beyond.

Jesse’s artwork also ventures into the realm of food – specifically, wild and tame berry jams and jellies – wild strawberry the ultimate favourite.

Jesse’s varied artwork is featured for the month of September at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sisters in Spirit Walk, Sunday, October 4, 2015

The annual October 4 Sisters in Spirit Walk this year is a Sunday. The “emotional poignant trek honours missing and murdered aboriginal women and men across the country”. The Walk is organized by the Peace River Aboriginal Interagency Committee “to bring awareness, conversation, healing”.

Members of the committee met, recently, at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre to prepare the small red bundles containing tobacco and prayers, which having been smudged, will be handed out at the beginning of the Walk.

The Walk begins with a gathering at Riverdrive Mall at 12:30 p.m. and proceeds at 1 p.m. along Main Street to 100 Avenue leading to Riverfront Park. It is here, the bundles will be placed in a sacred fire and the names read of missing and murdered women – a bell being rung after each group of names with those in attendance saying, “Creator hear our prayer”.

Helping, healing hands prepare bundles containing tobacco and prayers to be handed out at the Sisters in Spirit Walk, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, organized by the Peace River Interagency Committee.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Villa holds Peace River history

A testament to built heritage - 
Lt-Col. James Kennedy Cornwall, also known as Peace River Jim and the Apostle of the North, for his passionate love of this part of the country returned to Edmonton in 1918 following his service in the First World War.

He returned to The Villa, a grand Highlands green and white Tudor mansion, built for his wife, Evelyn, and family in 1912 “to stand stately on the eastern lip of the Groat Ravine”. He continued his business ventures, although somewhat thwarted by the stock market crash of 1929. He lost The Villa, but not his resiliency.
James Kennedy's Villa in Edmonton built in 1912. Recently sold for $1.45 million. Photo by John Lucas, Edmonton Journal

Historian and author Hugh A. Dempsey writes, "Cornwall had made a tangible contribution to the northland and people loved him for it. Mr. Cornwall had done more to show the world the country north of Edmonton, said the Calgary Herald, than any government, church or individual. He believed in it and he preached it, he lived there and he finally convinced others to try and see if it was not what he said. They have tried and found it so, and Edmonton is proud of him, and the northland loves him, and the entire province is glad and proud to know that there lives within its boundaries a man of such public spirit and absolute confidence as J. K. Cornwall. "

The Villa, a testament to built heritage, over the years has housed several owners. Most recently, the 7,000- square-foot home with three bricks thick walls, exuding “rustic grace and charm” had been on the market for two years. Even with its historical significance, it was without a heritage designation. Concern was that even if the house was sold, it might be demolished. The realtor is quoted: “You can’t create history and leave a legacy for younger people without leaving these properties. There’s not enough of that around Edmonton.” 
Alas, it was purchased in early August 2015 for a reported $1.45 million. In addition, the buyer paid between $50,000 and $150,000 for its antique furnishings. The intent of the buyer is for his family to live in The Villa, after making a few upgrades and perhaps have it as a Bed and Breakfast

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fossilized Teeth

The Peace River Museum contains in its collection several animal teeth in various stages of fossilization. The oldest of these are the baby Albertosaurus teeth, which are over 70 million years old. The Albertosaurus was a fearsome predator that was closely related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex. When found near Peace River in 1979, they were initially thought to be bear teeth, but paleontologist Robin Sissons later correctly identified them in 2011.

Albertosaurus teeth

     An excellent fossilized animal tooth that was found in the Heart River was recently brought in on loan to the museum. It is at this time unclear what species it belonged to, but it bears a striking resemblance to the fossilized bison tooth that the museum has in its collection, due to both its shape and several distinctive markings. The roundedness of the specimen indicates that it was eroded and transported down the river for some distance, though by its excellent preservation we can conclude that it was only recently unearthed from its burial site.

Mystery fossil find

Fossilized bison tooth

     The museum also has a deer tooth and a sheep tooth that are very recent, as evidenced by their perfect shape and white, bone-like luster. This is in sharp contrast to the dinosaur and bison teeth, which have been transformed into rock over vast periods of time.

Sheep tooth (left) and deer tooth (right)

     Perhaps the most exciting tooth in the collection is the massive woolly mammoth molar that was recovered not too far from Peace River and donated by Dr. Sutherland. Woolly mammoths were large, hairy elephant-like creatures that went extinct about 10 000 due to climate change and human predation.

Woolly Mammoth tooth

     Water levels continue to remain low throughout the Peace River region, so new fossil finds will no doubt abound this season. Be sure to get out there and find some of your own before the long winter sets in!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Local Rocks and Fossils Display

Hot summer weather creates low water levels around the Peace River that bring conditions perfect for fossil and rock hunting. Local geo-enthusiasts have had great luck this year, so much so that a new display case has been set up to display these fantastic finds.
      Donors include the regionally renowned amateur rockhound Don Holt, whose great mineral and fossil collection is still being processed by the Museum. A massive dinosaur bone and a crystalline geode are included from this collection. Some younger fossil-hunters include Sophie Gustafson, who spotted a 500-million year old colonial coral on the banks of the Smoky River. Aadam Stalker is a particularly active collector; his finds in the area include high-quality granite, ammonite fossils and large gypsum crystals. Hali-Ann Thorpe has located and donated river-eroded ironstone, quartz and excellent talc specimens. Bill Veidt, featured in an earlier post, has also loaned out his jadeite adze that he found near Peace River.

         If you should be out and spot an interesting rock or fossil, feel free to bring it in to show us. We may even feature it in the case!

Monday, July 20, 2015

American paddler more into the silent sports

Bill Nedderman of Iowa has been paddling the routes of North American explorers and voyageurs, such as Alexander Mackenzie, DavidThompson, Simon Fraser and Lewis and Clark since 1998 in his handmade, collapsible canoe outfitted with a small solar panel to charge one LED light, radio and phone batteries.

This summer’s journey began at Prince George and on to the Grease Trail, once travelled by Sir Alexander Mackenzie and his voyageurs, on the way to the Pacific, assisted by First Nation guides. Bill did not reach the famous Bella Coola rock which bears the vermilion painted inscription “Alex Mackenzie from Canada by land 22nd July 1793” because it is only accessible by boat.

He hitchhiked back to Prince George where he had left his canoe and supplies.  From here he canoed the Nacho River to where it confluences with the Fraser River and spent 32 hours paddling 27 miles along the Fraser following Simon Fraser’s route, not Mackenzie’s.

Eventually, he is on the Peace River downstream from the Bennett and Peace Canyon dams near Hudson’s Hope, B. C. Taking his time, he reached Peace River seven days later.

During his travels, Bill tries to set up camp along a river where a tributary enters. These places usually have flat, accessible land for camping. When in communities, such as Peace River, he visits the library to use a computer to catch up on his e-mail and keep in contact with family and friends. In the case of Peace River, he visited the Museum to conduct some research.

Bill’s final destination is Fort Chipewyan.

Bill Nedderham in our Museum's Fur Trade Gallery. In the background
 is the birch bark canoe built by John Zeitoun in 2001.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July Artist of the Month

Sue Cloake is featured as the Artist of the Month for July. Sue, a local artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alberta, describes her work as being her "impressions of nature and an exploration of ideas and imagination".  This month's exhibit of acrylic paintings of shells from our ancient oceans are both impressionist and expressionist. The colours and repetitive patterns encourage one to imagine the life once housed in these 'houses' of shell and to think of the millions of years ago when the oceans covered this land from the Gulf of Mexico to our northern latitudes.  Along with Sue's expression and appreciation of nature's patterning, the Museum has created a small exhibit of actual fossils from that long ago time. These fossils are part of a much larger collection of Don Holt, a well-known rock hound from the Peace. Most of the fossils on exhibit are examples of what an aware hiker with sharp eyes might find along the tributaries of the Peace River.
Additional fossils, along with rocks, from the Don Holt Collection and from other local donors are also on exhibit in the Peace River Gallery this summer. Over the decades, the Museum has been a repository of historically significant items, such as the rocks and fossils, which help tell our story.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Heritage Tours 2015

The Museum is pleased to present an opportunity to all those interested in learning more about Peace River’s rich heritage! Guided tours will be taking place throughout July and August at the St. Augustine Mission Church and downtown Peace River.

The St. Augustine Mission Church is a Provincial Historic site located along the scenic Shaftesbury Trail. Take a peek inside the church, walk amongst the headstones, and get a sense of what life at the mission was like. The site is closed to the public outside of scheduled tour hours, so take this opportunity to learn about this site’s history and importance to our community! Another important area for Peace River is the downtown core.  A heritage interpreter will guide walking tours and provide information about historic buildings, people, and areas.

Drop by during the scheduled times below.

St. Augustine Mission Church Site:
Highway 684 (Shaftesbury Trail), River Lot 22 on the Peace River Correctional Centre’s grounds.
·         July 5
·         July 12
·         July 26
·         August 2
·         August 9
·         August 23

A heritage interpreter will be on site from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. those interested are encouraged to come at any point during that time.

Downtown historic tours:
·         Mondays: Starting @ 10:30am on July 6, 13, 20, 27 & August 10, 17, 24 beginning at Linc Weaver Park

·         Thursdays: Starting @ 7pm on July 9, 16, 23, 30 & August 6, 13, 20 beginning at the museum

Each tour is approximately 60 minutes long.

For more information call the museum at 780.624.4261

(click on picture to enlarge)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

First Nations Artifacts

With the arrival of Aboriginal Day on the 21st of June, the Museum would like to shine a spotlight on the variety of early First Nations tools and artifacts that have been found in the Peace River area.
       The First Nations peoples did not work metal. Instead, they used rocks that they found already present in their natural environment to craft durable tools. Some examples include spear tips and arrowheads for hunting game, as well as scrapers for preparing hides to be used in clothing or the building of shelters.
White chert bifacial lanceolate
Banded grey chert lanceolate
        The rocks chosen for tool-making were not picked at random from the ground. The First Nations people would painstakingly gather special stones called chert (flint), quartzite and obsidian. These rocks do not contain planes of weakness in their crystal structure, so instead of fracturing randomly when struck, their shape could be carefully controlled. This is, of course, provided the striker possessed sufficient patience and skill. Chert and quartzite were the most common materials used, and come in a wide range of colours and hues. Considerably rarer, obsidian is a volcanic glass, and one of the sharpest known materials. It is usually quite dark and highly reflective. The obsidian scraper pictured below was likely traded from a distant region, as volcanism and its products are not typically found in the Peace River area.

Quartzite bifacial scraper
Black obsidian scraper
           More First Nations artifacts can be found in the Archeology Case in the Peace River Gallery.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Aboriginal Jadeite Adze

         As we approach the date of the Annual Aboriginal Gathering and Pow Wow, the recent donation of a jadeite adze found south of Grimshaw area by Bill Veidt comes at an opportune time.
Jadeite Adze (on loan from Bill Veidt)
         Jadeite is a variety of jade, a strong and hardy material characterized by its distinctive green hue. Its strength lends itself well to tool-making, though the material itself is quite rare. This adze was therefore most likely an object of great importance and prestige. The crafting of such an device was a labour-intensive process, with countless hours of sawing, cutting, grinding and polishing. The product of these efforts is a long-lasting and high-quality tool that is a testament to the skill and ingenuity of the First Nations craftsmen. The age of this adze could range from hundreds to thousands of years old. As you can see, it has withstood the test of time remarkably!
Bill Veidt
        While the majority of jadeite artifacts recovered in Alberta were found in the Peace River region, most jadeite tools are associated with the west coast of BC. This is because the First Nations peoples of BC had increased access to quarries and had developed larger-scale stoneworking and woodcutting practices relative to the more mobile people of the plains. The geology of BC is also such that jadeite, a metamorphic rock, forms much more commonly in mountainous regions raised by plate subduction. It is believed that this stone in particular came from the Fraser River Valley of BC. So, this tool was likely traded from afar and had quite a journey before arriving in the Peace Country.

Example of a completed adze
         Even more ancient tools can be found in the Archaeology Case in the Peace River Gallery of the museum, including chert and even black obsidian artifacts.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Holt Geology Collection

With summer almost upon us, now is the perfect time to turn our eyes to the natural world and appreciate the beauty of the Peace River landscape. The recent donation of the Holt Collection of geological artifacts provides a great opportunity to examine some of nature’s most exciting relics. The Holt collection includes a diverse array of rocks, minerals and fossils that were collected by Don Holt throughout his life.

 On a hot and sunny Friday morning, the Peace River museum was lucky to have the help of Don (a different Don!) and Jim, two local rockhounds, to aid Collections Assistant Rhys in identifying the items in the Holt Collection and determining their origin. While many were from the exotic locales that Don Holt had visited during his travels, such as the African agates and Brazilian opals, many more were found to have originated in the Peace River area. Don described the intricate crystal structure of the geodes, and Jim identified many fossil types that he himself had found in the region.
              The Peace River museum has its own rock and fossil display, which can be found contained in lighted display cases in the Peace River Gallery.

Ammonite Fossil

Monday, May 25, 2015

All Aboard!

“We are advised that as a special feature for the visitors, who will be in Peace River over the 24th of May, the river boat D. A. Thomas, will make a river excursion on that day, leaving Peace River at three o’clock in the afternoon. The trip will be for 25 miles up the river, arriving back at Peace River about 10 o’clock at night.

“There will be an orchestra aboard and provision will be made for dancing. This will be a very pleasant trip and no doubt will be availed of by a large number of the visitors in Peace River ...”

The aforementioned advertisement was seen in the May 17, 1926, Grande Prairie Herald. It is imagined that the Boudoir piano (ca. 1904-1915) on display in the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre was instrumental in providing music for the dancers on that trip.

Boudoir pianos were designed for people wishing a keyboard instrument, but who were restricted to a small space. Allan Sproul donated the piano to the Museum in 1983. His parents, Rowland and Clare, had acquired it from Ellen Eddie about 1955.

PRMA 1980.1140.002
PRMA 1992.020.007


Friday, May 15, 2015

Peace River swept by Orange Crush

For the first time in forty-four years, Alberta witnessed an “orange crush” that swept the province into a new provincial government led by the NDP. Peace River experienced its own Orange Crush much earlier when the new bottling plant for the famed soda beverage established itself here in the 1920s/1930s. At that time it was located at 9812 100 Ave (where the present day City on a Hill Church is), and was owned by the Scott Fruit Company.
In 1949, George and Vivian Pratt moved to Peace River and bought the old bottling depot.  They decided to build a new plant in 1953, and constructed it parallel to Main Street on 99th Street. Orange Crush at the time cost between 7 and 10 cents a bottle, and was first bottled in crinkle glass bottles before the standard glass bottle became the preferred. The depot also bottled Kik Cola, American Dry, Grape Crush and Root Beer. Deliveries went out to Worsley, Hotchkiss and around Peace River.
The picture shows the new Orange Crush plant on 99 Street in the 1950s. Third from the left is Edward Pilkafski, and fifth from the left is Donny Lovelock. Edward worked at the depot for six and a half years as a delivery man.

The Pratts sponsored a women’s baseball team during the company’s operation, and the museum has some of the memorabilia in its collection, including one of the player’s sweaters.
The Pratts decided to sell the business in 1963, and the building was remodelled into offices. Though the bottling depot in Peace River is now no more, many of us still enjoy an Orange Crush pop every now and again.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Royal Soother

With the recent arrival of Princess Charlotte, we thought we would feature this antique soother, manufactured in 1897, as part of our collection and currently on exhibit in the Toy Stories. The soother was donated 1977 by Jean Hargrave (nee Cruickshank).
           Although it appears wooden, the soother is made from natural rubber, as you would expect from an object meant to go into a baby’s mouth! Although this material would go on to revolutionize modern industry in Canada, this rubber was likely imported from South America. The budding overseas rubber industries closely protected their trade, and exporting rubber tree seeds from Brazil was even considered a capital offense at that time.

PRMA 77.759.5
On one face of the soother we can see a picture of Queen Victoria, the ruling monarch of England during that time. Despite gaining independence from England in 1867, many Canadians retained fond memories of their former rulers, and the continued influx of English immigrants contributed to the enthusiasm towards the Crown. Even 108 years after the manufacture of the soother, the Royal Family remains ever popular with Canadians, especially with the recent birth of Princess Charlotte. However, I don’t think the modern and savvy Prince William would be too happy using the likeness of his great-great-great-great-grandmother on his daughter’s pacifier!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The   River   Project   Story        
Members of the Valley Peacemakers Quilt Guild are continuously challenging themselves. From year to year, the challenges are different and unique to the Guild. The creative results are displayed in the Guild’s annual show in the DMI Gallery of the Peace River Municipal Library.
The idea for the River Project quilt artwork now displayed in the Museum, gelled following a sighting in a book and seeing a similar installation in Oregon. What better project, with the rivers that merge in our community, thought Carole Gold, as she issued the challenge to fellow quilters.

They had a year to prepare for the 2014 Guild show. It was the Guild’s first group artwork project. What you see is the work of 13 individual quilters (Danya Frank, Jill Wood, Vivian Massier, Carole Gold, Aralee Tailleur, Hildegard Campsall, Beverly Hafstein Pichette, Lois Laurin, Margaret Stewart, Carol Scobey, Chris Warne, Alice Olson, Elizabeth Daigle). They followed the guidelines set out by the issuer of the project challenge. Each panel is an indication of the artist’s self-expression and creativity. Each has a story behind its creation.
The Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre acquired this work of art through donations made in memory of Robert (Bob) Campsall, as well as a donation from the Campsall family.
Bob delighted in not only living by the Peace River, but also by watching, with wife Hildegard, its many moods from their living room window.

Pictured are: Emily Harris, granddaughter; Erin Harris, daughter; Hildegard; Patti Campsall, daughter, and John Errington. The panel behind Erin was created by Hildegard, featuring an eagle, which the Campsalls used to watch as it and its mate enjoyed the wind currents over the river.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Farewell Megan!

Museum blogs usually feature artifacts and their story or events and the reason behind them. This time, we’ll change it somewhat. We’ll delve, briefly, into the story of the person responsible for many of the blogs over the past five years – Museum Collections Technician Megan Purcell.

Megan came to the Museum well-equipped educationally and with the experience necessary to meet the challenge of managing the Museum’s extensive and growing artifact collection, including one of her favourite subjects – rocks and fossils. In addition, she designed and assembled the Museum’s displays and featured exhibits. As well, she made presentations to groups as part of the Museum’s outreach program.

Megan has done so much more. She is renowned for culinary talents on display at Museum gatherings and for staff special occasions. Alas, as of the beginning of May, Campbell River, BC, and its Museum will reap the benefits of Megan’s skills as she moves on professionally and personally.

She will be missed, not only by those of you she has assisted during her tenure, but also by Town and Museum staff – her colleagues.

Farewell Megan. Take care.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's a Mad Hatters Party!

It's a Mad Hatters Party when the Museum and the Toy Library join together for a morning of fun and play! Next Friday, March 27th, 2015, the Museum and the Toy Library (now Peace Playland) are hosting a Mad Hatters Party for children ages 1 - 5, where everyone is invited to wear their favourite hat.

From 10 - 11:30 am, children and their parents or grandparents will be able to play with toys that the Toy Library will bring with them as well as the toys that the Museum has out in our Toy Stories exhibit.

We even have a dress-up station in this exhibit! Of course, once you're wearing your finest dress-up attire, you'll want to strike a pose at the picture station!

We invite you to join us that morning, wearing your favourite hat, for only $2 per child, with $1 each going to the Toy Library and the Museum.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No, it was a meteorite!

The town of Bruderheim recently commemorated the fall and recovery of the Bruderheim meteorite in 1960. What an impact this arrival from outer space must have had on the community – especially in light of the ‘race for space’ that the United States and the USSR were engaged in so tightly. Sky watchers must have been in awe. Did you know that the Peace River Museum collection includes a piece of that space rock? It was donated by the Percy Hills family from Judah Hill district.
Speaking of the Hills family, did you also know that three years later, the Peace River meteorite came to Earth and that, then graduate student in geology at the University of Alberta, Len Hills, was part of the recovery team? The Museum Library includes a report of the collection of specimens and eye-witness reports. The report (1964) begins:
                “Peace River, as a detonating bolide, entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 4:35 a.m. MST March 31, 1963, creating a flash visible for over 100 miles, followed by detonations resembling sonic booms over a 4,000-square-mile area.”  It goes on to say that March was "a time of year and day most unfavourable for recovery. However, this was Sunday morning and the Peace River country had not quite settled down from a frontier Saturday night. Peter Karpiak was up, administering to a sick horse; Alfred Bobier was looking for new-born lambs and calves .... A number of Peace River citizens were returning from parties. To many slumbering observers it was only an awakening flash and a bang, which resulted in a prowl of the premises to see if the oil heater had exploded.”

Further along in the report, the team writes of the recovery process, which determined that the ellipse of the fall was in the Brownvale area and it naturally yielded the highest concentration of specimens. One such sample,  labeled Peace River #1  and weighing in at 18 pounds, was discovered by university student John Westgate. “To the folklore of the land of Twelve-Foot Davis should be added the name of Eighteen-stone Westgate, because his discovery, like Davis’s rich fractional claim, proved to be an incredible stroke of fortune.”
If you would like to read more from the report, drop by the Museum Library between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
(Source: The Peace River Meteorite: Fall and Recovery./ R.E.Folinsbee and L.A.Bayrock, Department of Geology, University of Alberta: 1964)


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Happy New Year!

The Chinese Lunar Year just celebrated the Year of the Sheep or Goat with wishes for peace and humility in 2015.  This Blog is in honour of the Chinese families who contributed to the social, cultural and economic growth of the Peace Country in the early 1900s right up to today.

Back in 2011, the Museum hosted a travelling exhibit from the Royal Alberta Museum titled CHOP SUEY ON THE PRAIRIES. At the time, we were all reminded of the Chinese Canadian proprietors of restaurants and cafes in the Peace. These families included, though not exclusively, Dan Soo Der with the Royal Café in Grismshaw; Joe Hong and Hong’s Restaurant in North Star, Whitelaw then Notikewan; Jimmy Darr out in Hines Creek with Darr’s Café; Kimlin Der with the Grand Café, the Queen’s Café and finally the Dragon Inn in Fairview.
In Peace River we remember the families of Der Ham Lock with the Sun Café then the New Sun Café, Frank Mah at the Golden Palace Café in the McNamara Hotel, Tom Der Guey at the Dog House and the New Sun Café, Benny and Janet Wing with the Gueys and other partners established the Mayflower Café. Most recently the Bob and Sereena Kwan family with partner Romeo Yu retired from the business TJ’s Restaurant which they established and operated in Peace River. TJ's Restaurant was well-known for the best Chinese cuisine in Peace River!
Happy New Year! 
Artifacts from the Sun Café, the Golden Palace and the Dog House.

Friday, February 13, 2015

February Artist of the Month

"Pandas in their environment" by Sherri Beattie

It is fitting that Sherri Beattie is our Artist of the Month for February as it is a month to remember the importance of  family connections, family activities and family history. Sherri's work will have great appeal for children visiting our current exhibit Toy Stories. She likes to paint images of animals in bright acrylics.

As a member of the Peace of Art artists, she has included three pieces in the Infinity exhibit at the Library Art Gallery. While these works still depict her love of colour, the repetitive patterns she has created are an intriguing departure from her usual subject matter. Take time to walk through this eclectic and expressive exhibit from artists of the Peace of Art club and delight in viewing how creative the folks of the Peace are. Our artists help document who we were and are today as well as provide a commentary about some of the important issues of the time.