Friday, 19 December 2008

Adopt an Artifact! or another way of showcasing your Collections

From a fashionable 1960s men’s bathing suit to a pair of grass skis used in the Sugar Bowl in the early 1980s, a beautiful 1920s beaded evening dress to a WWII flight simulator, these and 37 other artifacts are available for “adoption” on the Adopt-an-Artifact website accessible at

The successful bidder will receive a photo and description of the artifact, a tax receipt for the value of their sponsorship, and an invitation to a Curator-led Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tour in 2009.

All artifacts remain in the care of the Galt Museum & Archives, which also retains ownership.

Bids can be placed on items of choice – online or by phone – before 5:00 pm MST on December 30. Final bidding takes place on December 31 at An Egyptian New Year's Eve.

Happy holidays from the Galt Museum & Archives!


Friday, 19 September 2008

Sicks Brewery Bottle?

Lethbridge Sick's Brewery, view of the beer bottle assembly line.
Courtesy Galt Museum Archives. P19752209038.

We recently received an inquiry from a volunteer at a provincial institution:

I have a bottle I am having trouble identifying. It is green, held 10 ounces of beer (I assume) and looks more like a soda pop bottle than a beer bottle. It has Lethbridge printed on one side. The other side is the number 6, with the word Sicks over the six. The molding seam goes from he bottom up through the lip of the bottle. The lower part has vertical ribs. Have you seen anything like this, or do you know where I can do further research?

Our Collections Technician, Kevin MacLean, composed the following in response:

The Lethbridge Sicks "6" Brewery began its soft drink line in the early 1900s, producing under the Orange Crush franchise and its own Lethbridge label. The line helped sustain the brewery through periods of prohibition and bans on advertising alcoholic beverages. In 1965, soft drink operations were sold to 7-Up Lethbridge Bottling Limited. Jack Lakie, Brewery General Manager, stated that the sale was made in order to focus the plant's production on making beer, which had always been the Brewery's main interest.

The sale, however, was was more likely the result of the government's discontinuation of a ban on the advertisement of alcohol. Sicks' ginger ale subtly promoted the Brewery's Lethbridge Beer label in a marketing strategy known as shadow advertising. The Lethbridge Dry Ginger Ale logo was almost identical to that of Lethbridge Beer, thus, advancing the sale of beer through the advertisement of pop. The last bottle of Lethbridge Ginger Ale was produced on 24 February, 1966 at 11:30am.

The bottle’s age dates to the 1950s or 60s – no later than 1966. The Brewery was in operation from 1901 to 1990. Molsons Brewery bought the Brewery from the Sick family in 1959.

Do you have an object you have questions about? Post it here, and we will do our best to answer!


Thursday, 10 July 2008

POW Exhibit opening photos

Practicum student Jill Browne commented recently on her blog For You, The War is Over - Museum Exhibit: The Opening Went Well. The opening was held on May 12, so it is high time that some accompanying photos were posted!

The two included here are of former German POW Alfred Weiss, who settled in Canada after the war ended [above, being introduced to Erica Foley [left] by exhibit Project Coordinator Wendy Aitkens [centre]. Mrs. Foley loaned artifacts to the exhibit - her father was also a former German POW. A number of Weiss's belongings are included in the exhibit, including the duffel bag he was issued for his return to Germany.

Canadian Veteran Ernie Bagstad [below left, with his wife, and City of Lethbridge Alderman Shaun Ward] was imprisoned in Germany during WWII. His uniform is included in the exhibit.

Additional photos are located on

We hope you have a chance to visit soon!



Sunday, 1 June 2008

An (almost) annual event with an end......

Being that our museum was once a hospital, we have many people, who now live all over the world, who call our building their place of birth.....we refer to this group as the "Galt Babies".

Every few years we throw a birthday party to celebrate these individuals, all born prior to 1956. We haven't had a birthday party in about 5 years now though because of being closed for the expansion for much of that time. There is much excitement amongst the Galt Babies that we are having a party again, finally, on June 22, 2008.

Its been interesting working on the invitations being mailed out - we have a Galt Baby in Australia and one in Germany for example......there are about 20 or 30 in the USA and only 3 in Saskatchewan but 8 in Manitoba! One in the in the Yukon. MANY in BC and Alberta....hundreds in Lethbridge alone!

Of course, this assumes that no one has moved as the addresses we have are at least 5 years the actual locations of where Galt Babies currently live could be a bit different than what I am seeing right now, and I am interested to see how much the data will change in this time.

The other thing that continuously runs through my mind is that this is an event that is a regular event (well every 2-5 years anyhow) and that one day this event will end. Events end often when the public moves on and wants a change, or when the individuals necessary for an event move away or are not available to assist with putting it together, but this event will end naturally, as one day there will be no Galt Babies left! I really realized this when we were trying to locate a former Galt doctor to speak at the birthday party, and there was only one that my committee and I could think of and locate (and yes, he is going to come speak towards the end of the event).

I really want to ensure the Galt Babies enjoy their party each and every time we do it because it is a celebration that won't go on forever. So if you are a Galt Baby or if you know one, please have them call me to receive an invitation - 403-320-4219. If they can't come this year, hopefully they can come next time and enjoy some dessert and refreshment, museum/hospital tours, free access to the museum, and some live music (and dancing if anyone wishes!).

Thursday, 8 May 2008

For You, The War is Over is an exhibit related blog where we hope to gather the experiences and thoughts of prisoners of war, guards, the families and businesses who interact with the POWs, and visitors to the exhibit.

The blog was created by Jill Browne, a practicum student in the Cultural Resource Management program at the University of Victoria, joined the exhibit project as Assistant Researcher. She dedicated over 600 hours as she scoured archives and museums across Canada in search of research materials, artifacts, original documents and photographs. With the completion of this project she will achieve her final requirement for graduation. Thanks Jill!!



Thursday, 1 May 2008

The Feast of the Black Knight is behind us (and a huge success it was!).....National Volunteer Week is happening right now, with our Galt volunteer party also a thing of the past (until the next one!).....and I have had a few people since ask me, "How do you do what you do?"

Based on the number of courses available (both formal and informal) for people to learn about planning Special Events (and even the many different types of events and the diversity in ways of planning based on that fact alone), there is too much to explain here - and I don't think anyone would want to read my own personal book on how I do my job.

I do want to say though, that at any given time anyone should be able to stop me and ask me what I am working on, and my answer should be filled with discussion not only on an event taking place in the next few weeks (I average one event/month, typically).....but I also should be able to talk to you about an event that is 8 months down the road that I am working on. At the same time, I am thinking of ideas and ways to improve my annual events that I have just completed. Yes, I haven't even done my report on the Feast or the National Volunteer Week party, but I am already contacting potential performers and caterers and the like about what choices I may have for the 2009 versions of those events (which change theme based on our temporary exhibit at that time).

Good event planning is not only about working well in advance, but its also about having a strong volunteer group to call on and call from when you are planning, and for the event itself. If it weren't for our volunteers, I'd have never known about Cave Cantemus, a local musical group that sings songs from the Medieval times.....or about Ben Hart, a local theatre student who is a stilt walker, or about Jon Helm, a local musician and academic who has made replicas of some Medieval instruments and performs with them. And the help of working with groups like the local Lethbridge Medieval Club........

To me, event planning is about building those types of relationships, and that includes with donors and sponsors as well as the volunteers, performers, caterers, and local talents and organizations. If I have that, and I've given myself time to properly plan, an event should be a success.

If anyone has ideas for events they'd like to see, I'm always interested in hearing about them. It usually takes me a year (or sometimes I like more than that), to think about and plan something new, from scratch. I'm always open though so feel free to email me at or call me at 320-4219 and we can chat!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Goodbye old friends

We watched with sadness last week as the 75-year old poplar trees to the east of the Galt were cut down over three days. On April 22, the final branches and stumps were being cleaned up while the weekend's snowfall melted away.

The expansion to the neighbouring extended care facilities along with our own expansion led the overseeing city departments to determine that the trees would not be viable, that their age was a liability and that damage to the roots from the pending roadwork would mean they could pose a potential hazard to the senior residents and to visitors to the Galt - aka falling branches. The three evergreens were just plain in the way - we were told by a number of parties that they were too large to be moved effectively. I regret that I did not work hard enough at trying to have them moved to a better home...

The building is now more visible. It looks a lot like this Archives photo from 1911, taken a year after the Galt Hospital [the historic east-wing of the Galt Museum & Archives] was opened:


Today the 2006 museum expansion is adjacent to the north of the 1910 wing [which would be the right in the above photo]. An educational natural garden commemorating the Horticultural Society's centennial in 2009 is being created this year along the slope under the pedestrian bridge:

Once pending roadwork is completed, there will again be a circular garden in front of the 1910 wing, similar to but more elaborate than this photo from 1920:


And on the south [left] side of the 1910 building, a Galt School of Nursing Graduate bronze statue by local artist Don Toney will be located near the remaining wall of the very first hospital built in 1891 [below].

August 2, 1955 19752207077
There will also be seating and engraved bricks which have been sponsored by GSN graduates, Galt Babies [those born in the Galt Hospital until 1955], and others wishing to acknowledge special people. Roses and peonies, which would have been found in 1910 gardens, will also help create a place for relaxation.
Hopefully these plans, along with some replanted trees, will begin to fill the hole left by the removal of the big old trees... happy earth day.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Volunteer Appreciation

Wow - its almost that time of year again....the time of year that Volunteer Coordinators and Managers know will be B-U-S-Y! Its April......National Volunteer Week and all that goes along with it is right around the corner.

With over 200 volunteers putting in over 6500 hours towards the Galt in 2007, celebrating them and showing them how much we appreciate them, truly is impossible. However, we do our best to show them that they are important and crucial to our operations.

Over the years I have tried to offer our volunteers many opportunities and thank-yous.......we give our volunteers "museum moolah" which looks like monopoly money that they can use in our museum store.......we do a lot of social things such as a dragonboat team that competes in July; we just bowled in the Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser (and may I brag and say that it was a Galt volunteer who won top score for the night!)......we offer informal recognition with thank yous and other everyday demonstrations of appreciation....and we offer the formal thank yous such as a National Volunteer Week event. We also nominate volunteers for awards all the time - in fact, most years we end up having a major award winner in the local youth volunteer awards handed out (the Leaders of Tomorrow awards).

With the face of volunteerism changing to one of a more episodic nature, we have many more volunteers contributing to the museum - some donate only a few hours/year, some we only see for a few months every few years! We have volunteers from all parts of society too - we have English as a Second Language volunteers; people from 12-80 years of age; volunteers with differing abilities; and volunteers from many ethnic backgrounds.

Its definitely an interesting job being a volunteer coordinator......and a very busy one right now, knowing that with so many different people, I cannot meet everyone's needs.....but this is the month where I try - I try to show the appreciation of all of the staff at the Galt Museum, and all of the public who visit the Galt, and let our volunteers know how important they are to us - every single one of them!

~Let me know if you'd like to come to our volunteer/staff party on April 16 - RSVP by APril 10 to 320-4219). Hopefully no one thinks they haven't done enough to come to this - its open to ALL past and present volunteers and staff......

~and if you want to volunteer at the Galt - check out for our current opportunities

~ and if you have any suggestions for volunteer opportunities - please post them here! We're always excited about new possibilities and things that interest you, to help us achieve our goals of preserving and sharing our history and stories!


Thursday, 20 March 2008

Did that really happen?

I have been working on a presentation on myths and legends of Lethbridge area. You would be surprised at the number of untrue beliefs and stories that surround the history of this area. One thing I have found as I have talked about it with people is that I keep getting more myths added to my list (it absolutely amazes me what strange beliefs there are out there). If you have any questions about things you have heard about Lethbridge history that you were wondering if they were true, send them on to us at the Galt. We'll see if we can track down the real answers.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Community feedback

At the Galt Museum & Archives we value the opinions of our audiences, and provide exhibits to intrigue and engage new and returning visitors. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of potential exhibits for 2010-12 and are seeking community input to guide final decision-making.

Click on the SurveyMonkey button to go to our Community Exhibit Feedback survey where you will be asked to rank potential exhibitions in order of preference... we hope you will take the time to participate! The survey closes March 16.


Saturday, 1 March 2008

Saturday in the Snow

Its lunchtime on Saturday.....we are expecting our large, regular group of families who attend our Saturdays at 1 program, soon.

I was very excited to come to work today and see on my desk a large box filled with 300 Cadbury eggs, donated by Cadbury Adams! I had requested, only a week ago, a donation for our annual Eggstravaganza event, and hadn't heard anything back so it was a wonderful surprise, but also a demonstration to me of business' support for the museum & archives and the work we do!

So the finishing touches are underway for Eggstravaganza! I hope to have a few hundred smiling and excited faces here on that day (March 22, between 10 am -2 pm). We have lots of great crafts and activities - Easter related (700 eggs donated by Burnbrae Farms, hardboiled by a great group of Galt volunteers) and medieval related (due to our current medieval exhibit). From 12-1 pm we will have lizards and other reptiles in the museum, along with a presentation to learn more about these animals - the dragons of today.

It should be a lot of fun, and I do expect the Easter Bunny will make an appearance to hand out all those donated Cadbury eggs for me!

I really do want to say how much we appreciate the businesses and organizations that donate to our events - for this one not only did Cadbury Adams and Burnbrae Farms contribute, but also Lethbridge Centre; Canadian Parents For French; Devil's Coulee Dinosaur Museum (no feet casting this year though - that will be back in 2009!) and Save On Foods!

And especially a big thanks to the volunteers for hardboiling 700 eggs and helping with the crafts and activities! We can always use a few extra hands so if you're interested, let me know - 320-4219 or .

Hope to see you on March 22nd - say hi and tell me you read about the event on this blog and maybe we'll have an extra Cadbury egg for you, the adult (can't just give them to the kids :) ).

Thursday, 28 February 2008

the passage of time...

Well hello, it's nearing the end of February already! Since our last post, we have discovered that actually participating in our own blog is a good idea... it's a live and learn world dontcha know! Our friendly and knowledgable staff will be participating in this endeavour - look for new posts on a weekly basis and please feel free to ask us questions - we'll be asking you for your opinion too.

The slideshow on the left is fed by Weddings, retirement parties and other great events are held in our Viewing Gallery regularly... if you have flickr photos of your event or of your visit to the Galt with your family you'd like to see as part of the mix, please tag them with "galt museum" and they will show up.

Have you checked out our Facebook groups? There is one for Galt Museum & Archives as well as one for Galt Volunteers & Staff - feel free to join, or if you wish, become a fan of the Galt here.

Oh, look at the time...