Additions announced for Sunnybrook Farm

  • Aug. 15, 2012 3:48 p.m.

Sunnybrook Farm Museum recently received a donation that will allow them to continue on with their long-term strategic plan.

Four businesses including Red Deer Co-op, Servus Credit Union, Concentra Financial and The Co-operators Insurance donated $50,000 to support the development of the new exhibition building on the agricultural museum site. The proposed new Cooperative Mercantile Store will tell the story of the cooperative movement in Central Alberta.

The gift is intended to commemorate the United Nations’ 2012 International Year of Cooperatives. The International Year of Cooperatives is intended to raise public awareness of the invaluable contributions of cooperative enterprises to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The year will also highlight the strengths of the cooperative business model as an alternative means of doing business and furthering socioeconomic development.

As part of Sunnybrook Farm Museum’s long-term strategic plan, the South Development Project is intended to showcase the concept of a living farm community as the centerpiece of rural life. Included in the project are the 1920s Heritage Garage which will be completed this fall, the Cooperative Mercantile Store which will be completed in 2013, the Calder School Interpretive Centre, and the relocation of the Museum’s entrance and parking areas off Botterill Cresc.

Sunnybrook Farm Museum occupies 10 acres of the original homestead from 1899 of pioneer farmer James Bower. Many of the museum buildings are original to the farm including the 1942 Bower House and the 1930s dairy barn. The 2,000 artifacts that have been donated to the Museum over the past 20 years feature a wide variety of agricultural implements and working farm equipment, including 30 working tractors.

There were about 12,000 visitors to Sunnybrook Farm Museum in 2011. Schools throughout Central Alberta make the Museum a regular part of their school curriculum, with 2,500 students attending social studies programs on pioneer life and a science program demonstrating farmer’s use of levels and gears. Popular day camp programs in the summer months serve over 1,000 children and special events attract another 5,000 people. The remainder of the Museum’s visitors are drop-in guests who tour the site throughout the summer months.

Originally gifted to the community in 1988 by Bower, the Museum is now operated by a non-profit society called the Friends of Sunnybrook Farm. The mission of the Society is to promote learning about rural life in Central Alberta circa 1880 – 1950, through historical stories and a living farm community.

– Fawcett