Museum set to open Friday

By Rob Vogt Local Press Writer
A lot has happened inside the Claresholm and District Museum since the last time the public was inside the facility.
The museum and visitor information centre will open its doors to the public for the season this Friday, May 20, at 9 a.m.
“We’re super excited to be able to welcome visitors back again,” said Bill Kells, executive director of the museum. “(To) see all the changes we’ve made.”
The public may not have seen several of the most recent exhibits such as “Wings Over Claresholm”, an interpretation of the community’s aviation history; or the Louise McKinney exhibit, on the women’s rights pioneer and first woman elected to a legislature in the British Empire.
There is an exhibit on the “War Years” including a video and exhibit of Second World War hero and Claresholm native Ben Scaman.
Coming soon is a model Avro Anson, built by local craftsman Jake Gerbrandt.
The theme for 2022 is “Transportation”, with an official opening set on Fair Days, the second weekend in August. The Station building will focus on rail transportation while the exhibit hall will focus on horse and automotive transportation.
Beyond exhibits, the museum has undergone a visual transformation while it was closed.
The lighting has gone from fluorescent to softer exhibit lighting, with lighting added for the aisles.
“It’s a much more pleasant atmosphere,” Kells said.
Another change is a series of stanchions and arrows that lead people on a timeline through the museum.
It was done to abide by health guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but Kells said it has worked well.
Meanwhile, on the exterior, some of the Station’s classic sandstone has been restored.
Kells invites everyone to check out the museum and all it has to offer.
“There is a very, very rich history in Claresholm,” he said. “It’s very well interpreted.
“A lot of folks have done a great job.”
He pays tribute to all the volunteers, and their support, who have made the museum what it is.
“It’s incredible in Claresholm,” Kells said.
The museum has received a lot of great feedback as well.
“It’s a good way to learn Claresholm’s history,” he said.
The last two years, people have had to stay close to home to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We know folks want to get out, and we want them to come back,” Kells said. “We’ve missed them.
“It’s their museum.”
Kells has been to a lot of museums and Claresholm’s is special.
“This is one of the best small-town museums I’ve ever been through,” he said. “And I get that comment from a lot of people.”