Friday, April 17, 2015

National Volunteer Week 2015

Celebrating our volunteers at the Musée Héritage Museum comes naturally because they are "part of the family" and we would not be able to do all the things we do without them!

   On April 9, 2015 the museum hosted the Arts and Heritage Foundation of St. Albert  membership and volunteer appreciation night event to thank all of the members and volunteers in our organization. 

  Our guests had a chance to see our current exhibition, Wus'kwiy, Waskway--From Berry Baskets to Souvenirs before we set up a new exhibition the following week.

Creating designs with our teeth!

After viewing the amazing birch bark bitings, and moose or caribou hair tufting examples in our exhibition, we invited our guests to try creating their own birch bark bitings on transfer paper or "tuft" using yarn.

Learning to tuft using yarn instead of moose hair.

Edna and Vino hosted the museum volunteer table at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon held at the St. Albert Alliance Church on April 15, 2015. The St. Albert Community Information and Volunteer Centre organizes this luncheon each year as part of the National Volunteer Week festivities in our community and they do an amazing job. 

This is the 12th consecutive year of the National Volunteer Week campaign to recognize the millions of volunteers across Canada. We were thrilled to have many of our volunteers join us for this luncheon to appreciate their hard work.
Over 300 people at the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

Musical acappella group, Hoja, performed at the luncheon. Mayor Crouse joined in with his air guitar. Such an awesome performance.

The staff at the museum want to say a big thank you to our volunteers who contribute so much of their time and energy to the museum and heritage sites.   We simply would not be able to provide the quality experiences and programs to our community without the help of our volunteers. It is our pleasure to hold appreciation events to honour the spirit of the volunteer that wants to give back to the community. We are truly grateful.

Thank you volunteers!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New exhibition sneak peek: Francophones in Alberta

Musée Héritage Museum staff are back in the temporary gallery space installing a new exhibition this week, Francophones in Alberta: Courage and Determination. As always, staff and volunteers are very involved in the installation.

The first step is taking down our previous exhibition: Wus'kwiy/Waskway--From Berry Baskets to Souvenirs. This requires removing the berry baskets and other souvenirs so that they can be safely stored.

Kevin and JP carefully packing the birch bark baskets for storage.
Kevin came up with the exhibition design and research. Willing to help paint too!

Always a pleasure during install week!

Once we removed the baskets from the exhibition area, we decided to go ahead with our plan to change up the colours again!

Once the painting was done, we moved the display cases into place. We will next bring out identified artifacts from our storage to display in the cases. Tune in next week for a look at the finished product.

Megan sewing fabric for use in the exhibit cases

We are now ready to bring in artifacts and install our exhibition panels.
Kevin preparing the mannequin for a wedding dress.

Please drop by next week to see what the gallery looks like when the new exhibition opens on April 21, 2015! Opening reception April 23 from 6pm - 8pm.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Spring Break programs at the museum were a blast this week – with Fossil Fun on Tuesday, Our Night Sky on Wednesday and An Easter Celebration on Thursday. 

On Tuesday, March 31 we learned all about fossils in Alberta and had the chance to look at some real sample fossils from the museum’s collection. We also made our own “fossil” samples to take home, and created Q-tip skeletons of local animals.

Wednesday, April 1 was a blizzardy day (April Fool’s!), but some "real troopers" made their way down to the museum to learn about Our Night Sky. We shared legends about the stars and the moon, identified constellations using constellation tubes, and created our own constellations, with accompanying names and/ or legends, to take home.

In our own community early settlers used the sky to guide them when they travelled through the night by dog sled between Lac St. Anne and St. Albert.

Thursday, April 2 was an Easter Celebration with many participants coming to take part in an old-fashioned Easter egg hunt throughout the museum. We also told a timeless Easter tale, one that has been shared with children in our community for many years, and created beautiful Easter crafts to display for the holidays.

All in all, as mentioned before, our programmers and visitors had a blast during our Spring Break “staycation.” Make sure to check out our regular monthly Saturday programs (the second Saturday of the month) until June, and watch for information about our summer programming at the museum, Father Lacombe Chapel, St. Albert Grain Elevator Park and the Art Gallery of St. Albert.  
Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

St. Paddy’s Day at the Musée!

   March 14th, 2015 at the Musée Héritage Museum was an early celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and more than forty people joined us for the festivities!  The celebration included traditional Irish music; an Irish legend about the Pooka (a shape-shifting spirit), a pot of gold craft and a rainbow mosaic craft, after all what’s a Leprechaun’s pot of gold without a rainbow!  
   All of this was topped off with an Irish party game called “Flap the Kipper.”  What in the world is “Flap the Kipper?” Well
  • First, you make a paper fish (a kipper) and decorate it brightly.  
  • Then you set out two lines on the ground: start and finish.  
  • Each player puts his or her kipper on the starting line.  
  • Using rolled up newspapers, you beat the floor behind your kipper and the blasts of air from the newspaper hitting the floor, makes your kipper jump forward.  
  • The kipper that reaches the finish line first is the winner. 
Flap the kipper is really silly, but a whole lot of fun!

Why is St. Patrick’s Day important in St. Albert?  Well…some of our most prominent historical figures were Irish! Here are some of the stories about Irish families in St. Albert.

The Métis Cunningham family has been in St. Albert since the very beginning. Patrick Cunningham emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1812.  It was his son, John, who moved the Cunningham clan to what would become Alberta in the early 1840s.  John’s son Sam served as a local politician, and leader of the St. Albert Mounted Rifles.

Local farmer Dan Maloney, who settled out west in the 1870s, led the charge to save St. Albert’s river lots in the 1880s from the Dominion Land Survey, along with Father Leduc.  John Maloney, Dan’s father, emigrated from Limerick, Ireland in the 1830s, settling in Ontario.

William Cust came to North America from Derry County, Ireland in the 1820s.  He first settled in the US, and came to Alberta in the 1860s.  According to the Edmonton Bulletin in the 1870s, Cust was the first person in Alberta to grow wheat for commercial purposes.

Michael and Edward Hogan came to Alberta around 1900.  Edward served as a town councilor and school board member for fifteen years; while Michael would become St. Albert’s longest serving mayor, from 1919 to his death in 1943: 24 years!  The Hogan brothers’ father immigrated to Ontario from Ireland in the mid-1800s.

Other Irish families that figure prominently in St. Albert’s history include Flynn, Cassidy, Gibson, Kennedy, and Donahue.  And that’s just a few!  Many Canadians have Irish roots, which is one of the reasons St. Patrick’s Day is such a popular occasion in our community as well as many others around the country!

Friday, March 13, 2015

February Round-up: Community Programs

February 2015 was a busy month at the Musée Héritage Museum and Heritage Sites! 

Family Day bookmark making with the AGSA at the Little White School
  Community programs took place at the Museum, St. Albert Grain Elevator Park, and as outreach programs at local schools and seniors homes.  Below is a recap of some of our community programs in February.
St. Albertans took to the hills – Seven Hills – for tobogganing on Family Day, dropping by the Little White School for hot chocolate and cookies and a “craft break” with the Art Gallery of St. Albert.
Other events in February included;

  • Weddings and family photos at the train station, a serene winter setting for smaller gatherings.
  • Cubs and Scouts groups at the museum to do their Aboriginal Awareness and Canadian Heritage badges – what could be a better location for these badges than a museum? 
  • A local seniors home, and a North Edmonton school, borrowed some of our portable Education Kits and had programmers Tori and Sharon come out to talk about St. Albert’s history, using objects, photos, and information from the kits to connect to their own experiences. 
  • A University of Alberta student joined us for a day to "job shadow"  and learn about the different jobs that exist in a museum. 
  • Student teachers, preparing for their practicums, came out for the fourth year in a row to learn more about the Metis of Alberta and gain an understanding of their history in the province.                                                                             

Mayor Crouse trying out birch bark biting

With the new Exhibition, Wus’kwiy/ Waskway: From Berry Baskets to Souvenirs, we brought in guest instructor Holly Yuzicapi to teach birch bark biting and birch bark basket making using contemporary materials.

Making birch bark baskets 

Birch bark bitings using transfer paper
If you’re interested in booking a community program with the Musée Héritage Museum, check out our website or contact the Program Manager at 780-459-1528.