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Author Will Ferguson makes a career out of curiosity

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Calgary based writer Will Ferguson has made a career out of curiosity.
Ferguson, who was born in Fort Vermillion in Northern Alberta, has travelled all over the world from hitchhiking around the backwoods of Japan to Moose Jaw.Will Ferguson
“I find both of them equally fascinating,” he said. He is very familiar with Lethbridge and Southern Alberta, having dedicated two chapters to Lethbridge in one of his books.


 For now he is looking forward to coming to Lethbridge, May 27 to visit the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens and to participate in the Queen’s Jubilee celebration at  the Galt Museum.


“My wife is Japanese, so when she gets homesick, she likes to come to the Japanese Gardens because it is so authentic. Even though the plants are Canadian, the design is Japanese. So we’ll come down on the Saturday to see it,” he continued.
 He travelled in Northern Ireland after the troubles just to see the effect on the people and in July  will be going to Rwanda to do the research for a book on the twentieth anniversary of the genocides.


 “I’ll be concentrating on my Canadian travels, seeing the polar bears in Churchill and Moose Jaw,” he said.
“ Travel writing is probably the easiest thing to get into because it’s always your story. If you go to a resort in Guadalajara, then that’s your story and your experience,” he advised to prospective travel writers. The most important thing  is to have  a sense of adventure and curiosity, though enough common sense not to get into dangerous situations.
“Start out in newspapers, because newspapers are always looking for travel stories, then work your way up to magazines and books.”


He started his career as a travel writer while hitch-hiking in Japan, where he spent several years teaching English.
“I was living in Japan, teaching and they have very poor bus service in Japan, so I started hitch-hiking, and nobody hitch-hikes in Japan, so I had people inviting me over for dinner and I thought that was pretty cool. Then I thought I’d pitch the idea of writing about hitch-hiking to a Japanese newspaper. They passed on it, but it planted the bug in me,” he said adding he moved to PEI and decided to write an article about Japanese customs.

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Galt Museum answers quilt queries with Alberta Quilt Project

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There is a lot more to quilting than one might think — they provide a peek into the past. So the Galt Museum has been presenting a special series geared towards quilting aficionados, or to satiate curiosity about quilting for those new to it.

The last presentation of the series is May 17 at the Galt Museum featuring  Lucie Heins, assistant  CuratDawn Hunt shows several different quilts. Photo by Richard Ameryor of the Royal Alberta  Museum. She  will be bringing the Alberta Quilt project to Lethbridge, which  examines heritage quilts made in Alberta or brought to the province by immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and examines quilting in the twenty-first century.
The project began by documenting contemporary quilters to capture the current trends in quilting and surveyed Alberta quilting guilds, groups and individuals. The project, presented with the Lethbridge Centennial Quilters Guild, takes place May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Galt Museum.


“I’m here to unravel some of the mysteries of the quilt world,” said Dawn Hunt, who hosted the first two seminars. The first one covered the overall history of quilting, the second, CSI Quilt, went into more depth about how quilts can be a conduit into history over two sessions, April 5 and April 7.


“Women weren’t allowed to take classes or go to school, so quilting was how they expressed themselves,” she said.
“‘Some are passed down from daughter to daughter,” she said.
 She said you can tell a lot about history by examining quilts. Popular patterns, stitching techniques and even the type of dye used can tell a lot about  the era where the quilt came from.


Salesman’s fabric swatches  from the day also tell a lot about a quilt as they often reflect the popular styles of the day.
Sometimes they get lucky and find a date on the quilt, either on the back, or worked into the quilt itself.
“ We do a lot of research so the quilt can tell us the story,” she said.
 Sometime the quilt itself  tells  a story, reflecting the life of it’s creator and their family as they are often passed down through generations

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Galt explores sports today in Champions and Challenges

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Lethbridge is widely regarded as a sports town. This city has a storied history of sports, but the Galt Museum has decided to  explore the present in their new exhibit “Champions and Challenges in Sports” which opens, May 12, with the official kick off at 2 p.m. May 13.Anine Vonkeman looks at Susan Eymann’s interview in the new Galt exhibit. Photo by Richard Amery
There will be a variety of the subjects in the exhibit present including Kris Versteeg, Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame inductee Brad Brown, referee Bill Halma, Special Olympics downhill skiing medalist and bowler Tyler Birch, curler and Special Olympics powerlifter Jennifer Grimes and sports advocate, and exhibit advisory committee member Knud Petersen.


Curator Wendy Aitkens with  the help of  University of lethbridge applied studies student Stefanie Heidebrecht and much community support, decided to tell some of the stories of not only professional athletes, but amateur athletes, families, referees, sports boosters and fans, to convey a cross-section of the contemporary Lethbridge sports community.  
“ There are a lot of athletes in Lethbridge from professional athletes, to recreational athletes playing in beer league slo-pitch,” said curator Wendy Aitkens adding it was a challenge to choose the athletes to be featured in the exhibit.


“We made 19 phone calls to interview some of these people. Then we put together 10 two-and-a half minute short video clips of the interviews. It was absolutely wonderful,” Aitkens observed adding the Galt did a history of Lethbridge Sports exhibit in 2001.


In addition to the video stations, where patrons can relax on a comfy leather couch to watch them, there are also special displays dedicated to Lethbridge sports notables including former Lethbridge Hurricane Kris Versteeg, who has already won a  Stanley Cup in the NHL, as well as special Olympians, a display on curling, jerseys and much more.

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Students show love for history at weekend historic fair

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The Galt Museum is getting ready to host the seventeenth annual historical fair, May 5.The Galt Museum foyer is the scene for this years ' historic fair, May 5. Photo by Richard Amery
Numerous Grade 4-9 students have been hard at work researching  their favourite  aspects of Canadian history.


 We usually get 50 projects but we have no idea what they will be or how many they are until we receive them. One of the schools hasn’t registered yet,” said Belinda Crowson, who has been involved with the fair for the past dozen years.


 While some schools make the fair  part of their curriculum, some students get so into their projects that they enter on their own.


“ They do the research and decide which stories to tell and what to focus on or they do family stories, so they are personally involved and tell it from their own eyes,” Crowson continued.

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Curious about the Cleary house? It's among Lethbridge landmarks to be recognized

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Nestled in between the Royal Bank parking lot and a big brick building including an accountant’s office and a naturalist’s  shop, stands the Cleary House, an anomaly in the bustling downtown Lethbridge business community.Lorraine Moodie enjoys the porch of the Cleary House. Photo by RIchard Amery


 The lone remaining coal miner’s  shack, located at 422-7th Street South, originally built in 1906 is the sole remaining relic of a bygone era in Lethbridge — a bright white, cheerful looking house with beautiful arches and a front porch braced by a black wrought iron fence, surrounded by a sea of red brick and yellowing mortar.


“A lot of people are curious about the house,” said current owner Lorraine Moodie. Moodie and her husband bought it at the estate sale in 2006 of longtime owner Alberta Chamberlain, who lived there alone for close to 50 years. She was best known as the lady with the Chow dog, because she used to have a little Chow dog she walked every day.
“I didn’t really know her, only to see her and say hello to her and her dog,” Moodie said.


The Downtown core used to  feature numerous such houses but slowly but surely were replaced by businesses as Lethbridge grew and the owners sold.
The Cleary House is one of five sites chosen this year to be marked by historical  markers/ plaques on May 12 at a ceremony to be held in front of the house. The other sites are Hotel Dallas/Coalbanks Inn, 312-5th Street S. (built 1903); Lethbridge House Hotel/Lethbridge Hotel, 202-5 St. S. (built 1885) ; Burns Building/Shanghai Chop Suey, 608-610 3 Ave. S. (built 1911); Berte Grocery/George’s Groceries & Meats/Williams Grocery/Tumbleweed Café, 707-9th Avenue N. (built 1910).


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