St. Albert’s Musée Héritage Museum has been presenting and preserving the history of our city for 33 years. It also brings in special exhibits that explore the history of Alberta and Canada such as its current exhibit about General Sir Arthur Currie.
For the past two months, the Museum has been revamping its main gallery and it was unveiled in a special opening reception on April 1st. With six areas of interest that are broad in spectrum, the Museum will be able to change the items and stories to keep the gallery dynamic; these six areas are Adapting, Communicating, Arriving, Building, Celebrating and Collecting.
Changing something that’s as well known as the Musée Héritage Museum is a risky venture, because that change may irk a few people. Yet, if a museum remains static, exhibits may lose their attraction for visitors. The Musée Héritage Museum curator Joanne White says, “Everyone who’s come so far, are pleased and happy about the changes.” The Arriving Gallery is Joanne’s favourite because of everyone has an “arriving” story. As Canada is a nation of immigrants, this gallery will never be short of historic and new stories.
One area that piques a lot of young kids’ curiosity is the Communicating Gallery. Here, kids can read about the telegraph and Morse code, see a replica of the phone that made the first phone call between St. Albert and Edmonton, and actually touch and “dial” on some old phones—though not so old for some of us.
There is a new exhibit on loan from the Museum Strathroy-Caradoc in Ontario that also had its reception on April 1st. The Life & Legacy of General Sir Arthur Currie exhibit tells the story of a man who failed in business but excelled in military strategy. Dr. Rod McLeod, a University of Alberta Professor Emeritus, told guests about Currie who was instrumental in saving many Allied lives at Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and other battles during WWI.
The Currie exhibit contains photos of the man (including one which is said to be the only photo of him smiling) and his military horse, Brock. You’ll also see his uniform and other WWI items such as a German machine gun, old mortar shells and model display of how Currie advanced on a German-held trench.
Alongside the Currie exhibit is the story of Brigadier-General Raymond Brutinel who lived in the St. Albert area and served under Currie in WWI.
The Currie exhibit is on display until June 11, and the revamped St. Albert Gallery will periodically change to bring in new exhibits, new stories and refresh visitors’ curiosity.