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