Museum launches centennial campaign

  • Aug. 15, 2012 3:40 p.m.

The Red Deer & District Museum Society officially launched the Centennial Club Campaign this week. Funds raised will support a permanent history exhibition set to open in March of 2013 – Red Deer’s Centennial year.

Organizers say the campaign’s goal is to secure 100 donations of $2,013. Members of the community are encouraged to contribute and be acknowledged on the donor wall in the permanent exhibition.

“Red Deer has a unique history of settlement in western Canada,” said Lorna Johnson, executive director of the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery. “The ingenuity, leadership and community spirit that contributed to the City’s rich history is still evident today.”

The exhibit will consist of four main areas – Unusual Beginnings, Community Spirit, Leaders and Innovators and Our Red Deer. Several themes for other features will be included under each of these key subjects including local education over the years, life in Red Deer and overseas during the war years, arts and sports organizations will be highlighted as well as the agricultural industry among others. There will be a portion specially geared towards children as well, said Johnson.

“We are planning to offer the people of Red Deer kind of an anchor of understanding the history of the people that built this community and some of the landmarks of the community.”

The total cost of the history exhibition project – including design, construction, installation, administration and promotion is pegged at $1.5 million.

About 1,000 artifacts and 500 images and documents will ultimately be featured, and the permanent history exhibition will take up about 4,800 sq. ft. Johnson said the overall design will allow components and artifacts to be refreshed on a regular basis.

“We are now finalizing the selection of artifacts that will go into the exhibition.”

Johnson said the campaign image is an artifact from the museum’s collection – a cream barrel donated in 1979. In the early 1900s Thomas Kirton used it to collect cream from local farmers and then deliver it to the Red Deer Creamery.

“The finale will be a wall we are calling Remarkable Red Deer. We are collecting everybody’s ideas about what they think makes Red Deer remarkable, from the big green water town to Spandy Andy to the Ghost Statues project. There are so many things that make our community unique, and things we would want to share with newcomers.”

The City of Red Deer has committed $1 million to the project already, and the Society aims to raise another $500,000. About $100,000 has been raised to date.

“It’s been so fascinating finding the treasures that tell the stories.”

For more information, call the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery at 403-309-8405 or visit