CONCEPTION…TO RAISING A MUSEUM
[Please note that some creative license
has been used in putting together the following information although the information has been checked for accuracy.]
Act 1, Scene 1 takes place in the PMI (Provost Motor Inn) coffee shop fall of 1999. Already seated and having coffee
are: Dennis Schug, Lawrence Muchowski, Cliff Pope, Cliff Haggerty and arriving on the scene is Doug Hall.
Dennis: “Hey Doug. Come on over here and join us. You’re just the guy to dive in to this discussion we’ve been havin’. Mavis, bring us another cup of coffee for this tired and dusty traveler.”
Doug: Sure, what’s on your minds.
Cliff: Well…(clears his throat) we been kinda throwin’ around the idea of a museum cause we all have heirlooms collecting cobwebs and dust, filling up our outbuildings and basements that tell a story of Provost area and people that’s
just goin’ to get forgotten or thrown away when we’re gone.
Doug: Heck yeh. I’ve got stuff taking up space, don’t want to just chuck it, but don’t know exactly what to do with it.
That’s a good idea but it’s goin’ to take a lot of work, time and money.
Dennis: Yes, but if we get enough people interested, it won’t be so bad. And I know there are local people who would want to get on board.
Lawrence: OK. Where do we start?
Cliff: Talk to the town. See if they are interested and willing to make space available for this kind of thing. Talk to
everyone we know and ask them what they’re willing to do to make it work.
Dennis: We can get some people together at our place to figure out how we can do this. How’s next week sound to you?
Cliff: You know, I got this old ……(scene fades out as they continue discussing a museum).
Act 2, Scene 1 in Dennis & Louise Schug’s basement October 12, 1999. People present are: Dennis & Louise Schug, Doug Hall, Lawrence Muchowski, Cliff Pope, and Lucille Peterson, Ruth Stempfle, Laurie Kobes, Bob Paulgaard. Everyone has said their
greetings and helped themselves to coffee / dessert and settled into their choice of chairs.
Cliff: Thanks everyone for showing interest. We need someone to take notes, Lucille (lifts her pen and paper)– thanks Lucille. If we’re going to make this work, we’re going to need commitment, time, money, energy and most of all creative thinking.
Dennis: We need to set up an executive committee and decide exactly what kind of museum we want, a traveling museum or a local one. Not just a run of the mill type, but one that is unique and draws interest for miles around.
Bob: I think we should contact other museums or government agencies that can tell us what we need to get started and give us information that will help us avoid pitfalls. But also give us a general idea how to do this. There might even be some government grant money we could tap into to get this off the ground.
Ed: We need to put together a mission statement and incorporate. Get The Provost News interested and have a general
meeting with the public invited to take part. This needs to happen soon because Christmas is coming and people will be focusing their thoughts and energies there and before you know it, it will be time for spring planting.
Louise: What types of displays are to be included, location, and what type of facility do we need to house the collections? Hey, maybe we could circulate a survey that will give us ideas for location, facility, fund-raisers and types of historical items.
Doug: We need to decide on a special theme like Drumheller which has bones, Donalda has lamps, Wetaskiwin has automobiles and aircraft while Cardston has carriages.
Lucille: I’ll contact The Provost News.
Dennis: Is November 16, 1999 OK for booking the Provincial Building for our first General Meeting? Good, now let’s put together an agenda.
(Fade out with Lucille writing down agenda items as they are called out.)
Act 3, Scene 1 November 16, 1999 at the Provincial Building meeting room filled with many of the towns people interested in the concept of a Provost Museum.
Dennis: I now call this first meeting for the purpose of creating a Provost Museum to order. I would like to introduce the people who are the catalyst group of this endeavor and welcome Joe Rosich, U of A graduate from the Faculty of History who is going to share some of his knowledge regarding provincial museums. We also acknowledge all of you who have taken time to come out tonight to share your ideas and support.
Joe Rosich: This locality has been inhabited less than a hundred years and as we enter the next millennium, it is an opportune time to zero in on the past. ‘Retro’ is in!
Even the small existing museums need to change in order to keep the public and the tourists interested. The most financially successful museum in Alberta, Rutherford House, generates both income and interest through educational programs and private bookings such as weddings and photo shoots. They operate both a restaurant and a gift shop, plus donations at the door. I cannot stress too strongly that there needs to be some plans in place for ongoing activities that will draw the people to the facility.
Also, your senior citizens are your greatest resource, stay in touch with them and cultivate their memories because they take a wealth of history with them when they are gone.
Dennis: Thank you Joe. Now people, we want you to envision the future museum. Tell us what you think it should entail.
Laurie Kobes: We need a location that is in or near town, perhaps near the highway or across from the senior’s lodge or auction mart, close to population to deter vandalism. The 10 acres near the trout pond with room for expansion and close to utilities would be a good location.
Bob Paulgaard: We could have a multicultural display of all ethnic groups in the area. Perhaps a miniature village with school, church, railway, “Eaton” house, hip roof barn with cemented pads for farm machinery.
Marlene Pope: Yes, and a log house, oil industry artifacts and interactive sites where the following generations can participate in activities that were once done by hand.
Dennis: We also need to come up with some ideas on how to generate funds to support the museum.
Cliff Haggerty: How about a toy and collectible show, maybe a gigantic auction? Some other ways would be to sell memberships, friends of museum purchase a ‘plow-share’ (engraved/gilded) with their name. There’s also donations from municipal/urban governments, corporations, service clubs and private enterprises.
Dennis: Good ideas. Now, what do we envision being in this museum?
Leslie Spees: How about agricultural, household, hospital and school items.
Louise Schug: Possibly we could collect cars, photographs, or business related items.
Marion Kelch: Maybe there could be showings of private collections for a period of time to keep the displays from
Bob Paulgaard: OK. But in talking with people knowledgeable about this sort of thing, they recommend that the items be
donated because the logistics of accepting items on loan can become a real problem.
Lawrence Muchowski: We also need to keep interest in the museum fresh by having special tours, threshing bees, exchange of artifacts, pioneer days, a barn dance, campground, restaurant and visitor centre.
Dennis: Great! Thank you all for your input and we hope to be able to call upon all of you for your participation. Now for the executive positions… We have names for each of the positions but if any of you would like to volunteer, we’ll take it to a vote.
President: Dennis Schug
1st Vice President : Bob Paulgaard
2nd Vice President: Laurie Kobes
Secretary: Marlene Pope
Treasurer: Cliff Hagerty
Directors: Doug Hall
Building : Grant Stinson
Grant Applications: Lucille Peterson
Fund Raising: Cathy Kayser
Public Relations: Joe Bolz
Recording Artifacts: Connie Austin
Dennis: Any contenders? Good. All positions are filled by acclamation. But we still need more volunteers for the Building
Committee, Fundraising Committee, and a Membership Chairman as well as a phoning committee. So spread the word. We also need historical information so that events that occurred over the past decades can be recognized.
Doug Hall: I move that we form a Museum Society.
Grant Stinson: I second that.
Dennis: Everyone agree? (all hands raised) Carried!
Thanks again everyone for coming out and giving your input. Now the entire executive is asked to stay for our first executive
(The rest of the audience mills about and leaves talking excitedly about their ideas and expectations while the executive gather into a smaller group around a few tables)
Dennis: All right everyone, we’ve been here quite a while but we have to get the ball rolling on this so we need to set up
some priorities. Marlene, ready to take notes? (she nods yes) Good.
Lawrence, will you approach Fish & Game regarding the land near the trout pond?
Dennis: Cliff, can you get an account set up at the Credit Union for the Provost and District Museum Society?
Cliff: I’ll get on that this week.
Bob: We need to set up a membership policy, I move that lifetime memberships be sold for $20. per person,
Laurie: I second that.
Dennis: Everyone in favor, carried.
Leslie: Maybe we should have a contest to design a logo. The winner would receive a free
membership as well as recognition for creating an acceptable logo. We’ll need one for letterhead, pins etc.
Dennis: Good idea. Now our next executive meeting will be November 30th at my place if that’s good for most of
us. (group nods yes or raises their hands)
Next general meeting will be here at the Provincial Building January 11th.
Joe, will you get a notice in The Provost News about the next general meeting for two weeks before the meeting? (Joe lifts his
hand yes) Thanks Joe.
Laurie: I’ll come up with a design for membership cards for the next executive meeting.
Dennis: OK everyone. I think we’ve come a long way towards birthing a museum. Great job. Keep your thinking caps on and bring your ideas to the next meeting.
Act 4, Scene 1 takes place at the Provost & District Museum Building Sept. 11, 2007. The meeting is already in progress and the regular business has been addressed. Present are Agnes Whiting, Betty Varty, Colleen Ferry, Ann Angeltvedt, Norris Pahlke, Cathy Hnatuk, Warren Schug, Donna Haggerty. VP Betty chairing the meeting.
Betty: Our grand opening is scheduled for October 19, 2007. We need to discuss the day of the grand opening. Any suggestions?
Agnes: Perhaps we could do a chronology of events that got us to where we are now.
Ann: Sure, We can say that the Museum society was formed in November of 1999, became a member of the Alberta Museum Society in June 2001 and the town deeded the land by the trout pond to the museum in June 2003 and that the Museum obtained their Alberta Societies number in March of 2000 and year end is October 31st of each year
Cathy: Sean Smith should be acknowledged for drawing up the plans for the main building November 2000, the engineer hired was Peter Miller from Lloydminster and Verna (Hanson) Davis donated a 1974 Chev Malibu Car which was just the beginning of many donations by Verna.
Norris: Yes, and Bill Carter donated the Steinsleigh School in March of 2001 and the Western Ridge School became available as well in April but they weren’t moved on to the museum site until December of 2001.
Colleen: (Excitedly) And the T. Eaton House, the Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and the Bachelor house were all moved by Olmstead and Sons Building Movers of Craigmyle, AB by February 2006. And we should acknowledge the Lutheran church for raising $11,000. towards the moving of the church.
Agnes: (with laughter) Remember Bob put up $1,000. at the April 2001 meeting and challenged the other members to do the same? Doug Hall and Dennis Schug jumped right on that and made the same commitment.
Bob: And we got Provost’s first fire truck, a 1948 Dodge that was in Lamont and they wanted to know if we wanted it back in August 2007.
Doug: (Gets up and pours himself a cup of coffee, dancing his way back to the table) Don’t forget the suitcase dance
fund raiser we held in October 2001 with a draw for a trip to Las Vegas and we also did a casino in Red Deer, September of 2005 to raise funds.
Betty: Doug, didn’t the museum purchase the water tower from you and wasn’t Joan Lee’s windmill moved to the museum site in April ’05?
Doug: That’s right.
Lawrence: April of this year we took on the running of the Annual pumpkin raising contest in memory of Dennis Schug. Hey, we could have a plaque with Dennis’ picture on it made acknowledging Dennis as the instigator of the museum and have a reveal at the grand opening.
(Everyone excitedly agreeing and putting forth ideas of what the plaque should read and look like. Fade out.)
Act 5, scene 1 Inside the museum, May 30, 2009 Bob Paulgaard, Betty Varty, Colleen Ferry, Louise Schug, and Agnes
Whiting are rehashing the day and events leading up to the Reinventors grand opening.
Betty: Is everyone as tired as I am? (A few nod their head and say yes) But it was a really great day. We had a good turn out of people, antique cars and trucks for the car show and we didn’t do too bad with the sale of hamburgers and hot dogs.
Bob: Good. Remember how this all started. The Partners in Motion television production airs the Re-inventors Matt
Hunter and Jeremy MacPherson who dig up original patent designs to build and test inventions from the past were looking for places to display these inventions. Bert Roach, Provost’s Economic development officer came upon the opportunity after talking to a town councillor from Kipling, Sask. After further investigation myself, Kim Larson and Bert Roach approached the Partners in Motion and a five year renewable contract was signed. Approximately 20 exhibits arrived with more to come as space becomes available. The Oct 15, 2008 The Provost News interviewed Ron Goetz and he said “Some of the patents have never been made and some of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions were never tested and we have proved da Vinci was a genius.”
He also said, ”Provost would not have been our first choice…but the leaders from Provost were so keen on having this invention; the attitude is so good in the community and helps with our decision to keep the collection together.”
Agnes: I’m looking forward to seeing the 4,000 sq. ft. addition being built this year thanks to the MD of Provost kickstarting the funding with a $50,000. donation.
Colleen: It was really great of the hosts of the Re-inventors to judge the local inventions. Warren Heisler of Cadogan took first place with his exhaust gas recovery system. Maybe we could make this an annual attraction.
Louise: This has been a landmark day for the museum and Provost, and I for one am tired and ready to rest for a day or two but you know we really need to get the bachelor’s house ready for viewing. What are we going to use to preserve the wood
(Everyone gets up and starts moving towards the doors saying their goodbyes)
Dates & Donations of Note:
November 26, 2001 Stainsleigh School moved to Provost museum grounds
May 2002 Fence installed
December 2003 Received old Bachelor’s House
June 2004 Our Saviour’s Church (Lutheran) voted to move church to museum site and fundraise to help move the church.
August 2004 Water well completed
December 2004 Robert Hahn completed a three dimensional scale model of site.
October 19, 2007 GRAND OPENING
July 2008 Hugh Varty, former telegrapher set up railway display
2010-2012 An addition was built on to the museum to house the Re-inventors items and the continuous flow of donated items.
2011 The Alberta Visitor Information Centre relocated to the museum because the building is wheel chair accessible.
2012 Blacksmith Shop converted from a granary donated by Wallis Pfeiffer
2014 Cement floors put down in the addition.
2015 'Main Street Provost' has moved into the addition. Includes 2 mezzanines and many businesses that existed from the time Provost was incorporated are now recreated in displays along the walls & mezzanines. Antique vehicles also park along the street for you to admire. Several weddings get their pictures taken here with the old vehicles and buildings. A unique way to celebrate a memory.
2016 August 9, the results of cleaning and painting the water tower culminated in erecting the tower so that it's visible from many parts of Provost and it's highways. The water tower was built in Ontario and it is believed that it was shipped to Provost by rail where it was assembled just west of the MD of Provost building in 1952. The tank can hold 62,500 imperial gallons.
The 81 foot tower was taken down in 1995 then moved to Doug Hall’s property just south of the Case Building (Crescent Point Energy). It’s last move was to the museum site February 14, 2006.
An early color of the tower was silver but later was painted green. The tower now sports a new coat of green paint and will stand to just over half its original height when erected.
2017, the grain elevator office is open for viewing although it is still a work in progress.
October 2019 saw a wood caboose, the first of several pieces of a vintage train moved onsite at the museum and initiated the 'Bring the Train Home' project.