Friday, 12 June 2009

Museum Exhibt Musings -- A 1st Look at the Collections

I have started going through the Collections database looking at objects related to 1906-1913 for the exhibit I'm curating on those years. I must admit I’m more familiar researching with documents and photographs. So trying to think about how the objects tie into the story is more of a stretch for me. Right now I’m just going through them all and seeing what looks interesting to me. I haven’t had much time to make sense of them just yet.

But one thing that hit me quite quickly after looking at objects from this time period was how many trophies and cups there were. Shouldn’t really be surprising, though. How many of us (or more likely our parents) still have all of the medallions, trophies and awards we received through sports and other activities from our childhood? These are something we keep.

And, like today, the ones from 1906-1913 were given for a wide variety of reasons. The Downer Cup (1913) was given to the Annual Cadet Company Competition in Lethbridge Public Schools. There was a Football Trophy (1913-1915) that appears to have been a prize for a football league comprised of teams representing local freight handlers’ offices.

There were several related to agriculture: one for a championship Holstein bull (won by G.H. (Herb) Watson), one to be awarded to the champion heavy double team (award to W.T. McCaugherty) and one for the Champion Exhibitor from the Raymond District (also won by G.H. (Herb) Watson).

C.A. Magrath donated the Magrath Cup for Lethbridge Public Schools. This one was presented between 1912 and 1919. Unfortunately, I don’t yet know for what purpose the cup was given.

And, most interestingly to me, there is a cup that was “Presented to Joseph Gillespie upon his retiring from Lethbridge City Police by members of the force Sept 10, 1912.” While this seems innocuous enough, Gillespie didn’t retire but was fired (I’ll have to go into his story at a later date). Gillespie was, though, well thought of by the force and was rehired as Police Chief in 1920.

Do the trophies have a story to tell? Do they tie in with boosterism? Or do they simply highlight individual achievement and not the story of a community?

Can’t wait to see what other treasures I uncover in the Collections database. More soon….

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