Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Artifact of the Week -1945 Valentine

Sent from the worst of times with the best of sentiments: little is known about this Valentine which was produced by the Salvation Army in 1945, and presumably sold to soldiers to send to their sweethearts back home.

A Valentine printed on browning, recycled paper. "St. Valentine" is written in a banner above a large heart being held up by two cupids. One cupid is sticking an arrow through the heart. Below is a second banner reading "14th February 1945." Green stars and maple leaves are scattered in the background.
PRMA, 00.023.250

This example bears the interior message, “to a very good friend with all good wishes –Jimmie” and a religious poem about parted lovers. The identity of Jimmie, his dear friend, and his fate in the war is lost to history. The front of the card bears a cartoon image of two cupids running an arrow through a heart. The card was found among the belongings of Peace River Resident Patricia Fishburne and donated to the museum in 2000.

Valentine reads : To my Valentine "May the love of God O'ever Shadowing watch between thy life and mine. May the blessing of his presence through each troubled pathway shine. Though we are parted from each other for a while, he holds the chain and each link of love and prayer he'll bind until we meet again." The poem is surrounded by a border of red hearts and green maple leaves. The opposite side features a map of north American and Europe, with two hands crossing the ocean and gripping one another. A personal message at the top reads "To : a very dear friendw ith all good wishes. Jimmie."
PRMA, 00.023.250
Come see this item in person and many others featured in the Peace River Museum’s Valentine’s Day Cabinet Display, on now until the end of February.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Book Launch with author Larry Loyie

The Museum is honoured to host author Larry Loyie for a book launch of his most recent children's book "The Moon Speaks Cree: A Winter Adventure", on February 8, 2014 from 2 - 4 pm.

The Moon Speaks Cree (Theytus, 2013) is a winter adventure, a traditional time of family, learning and imagination, when toboggan dogs were part of everyday life. Based on Larry Loyie's traditional Cree childhood, the story teaches deeper lessons: respect for culture and history, the effect of change on Aboriginal people, and the importance of being good to animals.

Larry Loyie was born in Slave Lake, Alberta. He lived a traditional Cree life until he was nine years old, learning from his elders, many of whom he has written about in his children's books. From the age of nine to 14, Larry Loyie attended St. Bernard Mission residential school in Grouard, Alberta. At 14, he entered the work force, fighting fires, working in an oil camp and a mountain sawmill. At age 55, he returned to school to achieve a lifelong ambition of becoming a writer.

Larry Loyie is an invaluable resource on the history of residential schools in Canada. He is a survivor who has spent many years researching and writing about this hidden chapter in Canadian history. He also visits school classrooms.

Larry Loyie (Cree name: Oskiniko/Young Man) and his partner, writer and editor, Constance Brissenden have worked together since 1993. They created Living Traditions Writers Group to encourage writing within First Nations communities. Visit their website at http://firstnationswriter.com/.

Larry and Constance will bring copies of all their books to the Museum book launch. This is a wonderful opportunity to speak with them and to pick up copies for your family or your classroom.
Author Larry Loyie will join us on Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 2 - 4 pm to launch his new book. 
OTHER TITLES BY LARRY LOYIE        Goodbye Buffalo Bay      
When the Spirits Dance       The Gathering Tree        As Long as the Rivers Flow        Two Plays About Residential School
The Healing, a Memoir for Four Voices        The Wind Cannot Read

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Artifact of the Week - Black Magic Chocolate Box

We are less than a month away from the heart-filled and romantic holiday known as Valentine’s Day. As we approach this lover’s day, the Museum thought it would be nice to showcase a series of objects related to Valentine’s Day, starting with a Black Magic chocolate box. I am sorry to say, there are no chocolates left, but the box is still beautiful.

This iconic black and red box was donated to the Museum in 2009 by Colleen Hay (nee Pratt). Colleen’s parents, George and Vivian, owned and operated the Orange Crush bottling plant in Peace River until 1963 when they sold the business.

Chocolate, from its first documented instances through to modern times, has always been popular. The Mesoamerican peoples are the first to have enjoyed this food and made it into a bitter beverage, often with froth. When it reached the Europeans, they added sweeteners and turned it into the familiar bars and candies that we still enjoy today.

In the 1860s, chocolate became popularized and affordable for the masses. Previously it had only been available to those of nobility or rank due to its high cost. Very soon after it became affordable to all, it also became a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, perhaps because of its reported aphrodisiac qualities.

The Museum currently has a Valentine’s Day display in our Peace River Gallery. We invite you to visit us and experience the historic aspects of this most wonderful day.    

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Artifact of the Week - Partial bison skull with horn sheaths

This week’s featured artifact is a partial bison skull with its horn sheaths still present. Bison, like other true horned animals, have two bone horn cores growing out of their skulls that are not shed yearly, instead their horns continue to grow every year, as does the keratinous sheath covering them. Keratin is a very tough fibrous substance found in many places. A short list includes the outer layer of human skin, hair and nails, as well as cat claws, bird beaks, tortoise shells, and porcupine quills.

This partial skull and others were donated by Dr. Frederick Henry Sutherland (1891-1963) who was an avid collector of fossils, arrowheads, coins and stamps. Dr. Sutherland first came to the Peace region in 1913 when he filed on a homestead, along with two of his brothers. He then returned to Ontario, where he was born and raised, to finish his medical training. After serving at a field hospital near the war front during the First World War, he returned to Peace River, in 1919, to establish a medical practice.

Dr. Sutherland and his wife, Clara Richards, made their life in Peace River, along with their 3 children. As a civic minded individual, Dr. Sutherland also served on the St. James’ Cathedral vestry and was mayor of Peace River for 16 years.  

This skull is on display in our rocks and fossils section of the Museum exhibits. Stop by to see this and many others palaeontology, geology and archaeology specimens.
PRMA 68.240 - Partial bison skull with horn sheaths 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Artist of the Month - Daniel Wheeler

This month the Museum is featuring, primarily black and white photographic prints by Daniel Wheeler on the art wall.

Dan started taking photos at the age of sixteen, when he started backpacking and climbing. At that time, his photos centered on the environment he encountered while climbing. Now, over thirty years later, his photography has changed to capturing the sheer beauty of the areas that he encounters.

Dan is actively involved with Peace of ART and is their current president. The Museum thanks Peace of ART for sponsoring this art wall and Rhonda Warren of the art club for organizing the artists featured every month.

If you go further into the Museum, you will also find one of Dan's landscapes in our current exhibit "A Sense of the Land and its People: A Private Collection" featuring the Plains and Northwest Coast First Nations artifacts collected by Dr. David Welch. Dan was kind enough to donate the use of a Plains landscape in this exhibit to help highlight the environment in which the Plains First Nations people have lived.

The Museum is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm. Please stop by to see Dan's photographic prints, focusing on the elements found on Shaftesbury Trail in Peace River.