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Fort Whoop-Up gets a facelift after flood damage

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Fort Whoop-Up is getting a facelift following the July 20, 2012 flood. While it has been shut down since then while staff and volunteers salvaged displays and exhibits, the Fort has recently reopened their gift shop and a few of the rooms for pre-booked Christmas events.David Gabert sits among  Fort Whoop-Up's mannequins waiting to be  put back in the displays. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s a long process,” sighed Fort Whoop Up executive director Doran Degenstein, after a well attended talk at the Galt Museum about the history of the Fort.


“Originally we wanted to open Oct. 15, then Nov. 15, then Dec. 15, now were looking at the Victoria Day weekend,” Degenstein said.


“ But the store is open and the saloon is open. The bunkhouse will be next,” he continued adding they have been open for special events like the City of Lethbridge’s Bright Lights festival, Nov 23 and pre-booked Christmas parties.


“ We lost about half of our office furnishings and three exhibits in the Crowshoe Gallery, the ranch and transportation exhibits,” he related, adding it was more important to save the artifacts than the furniture. So volunteers and staff were on site within hours of the flood moving what turned out to be approximately 12,000 artifacts in the collection to five off site storage units. They had originally estimated there were only about 4,000 artifacts at Fort Whoop-Up until moving and counting all of them.


“The biggest thing that saved them was we had people there within two to three hours of  the flood,” he said adding they prioritized textiles and papers to be moved first.


They are working on re-opening the exhibits.
“But they will be rebuilt,” he said adding some of them will be replaced with new exhibits. They will be adding a parlour next to the Tavern in the room which used to be the livery stable, which wouldn’t have been located there in the original fort anyway.


Degenstein said the new exhibits will include one focusing on the post-treaty period.
“We used to talk about how the whiskey trade affected the natives but it ended with the signing Treaty 7,” he said adding a lot more happened after the treaty was signed. The new exhibit will explore how the government dealt with natives after the treaty.

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A night at the Galt Museum for archaeology trivia

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Spend a Night at the Galt Museum tonight. If you like archaeology themed movies like the Indiana Jones series and Laura Croft Tomb Raider there will beChirs Roedler and some of the prizes incuding the life sized cutout of Kevin McGeough. photo by Richard Amery a special movie trivia night.


The event is aimed at 18-30 year-olds, University or College students looking to blow off some steam in between exams and papers and anybody interested in movies, archaeology or all of the above.


“We’ll be showing a bunch of film clips about archaeology films and asking  trivia questions  about them. Some of them will be easy ike what year the movie come out, others will be more difficult,” summarized event organizer Chris Roedler.


 University of Lethbridge archaeology  professor Kevin McGeough who has been on digs will be hosting the night which features prizes and good times.
The event runs from 7-10 p.m., Dec. 6 at the Galt Museum.


 Roedler hopes to make it a regular event. It is a lead up to the Galt Museum’s “Nerdfest” which runs  March 21-23, which will include a variety of activities including comic book writer Scott Macleod.


Admission is  four dollars which includes entrance to the Galt Museum’s current exhibit, coincidentally featuring southern Alberta archaeology.


There will be tapas for sale and a bar for the event and a variety of prizes including the Indiana Jones movie set, and a life sized cutout of Kevin McGeough, which Roedler said is attracting a lot of his students.
“We’re hoping there will be 100 people there for it,” he said.


“It’s a great way to break into the post-secondary  market. So we’re pumped about it,” he continued.
“What better way to come out and blow off a little steam,” he said.


 Movie trivia runs from 7-10 p.m. tonight. Admission is four dollars.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Community helps Galt design Southern Alberta archaeology exhibit

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The Galt looked to the community for direction digging into the past for its new exhibit, “Uncovering Secrets: Archaeology in southern Alberta.”


The museum surveyed the public last year to ask what they wanted to see in an exhibit that focuses on southern Alberta archaeology.
“The Galt Museum is part of the community, so we wanted to do something the community wanted us to do,” said curator Wendy Aitkens.Galt museum curator Wendy Aitkens helps visitors examine ‘artifacts’ form the ’50s. Photo by Richard Amery
“It is important for us to respond to their interests and their needs.”


With help from the Archaeology Society of Southern Alberta and a couple enthusiastic students, they pinpointed 15 local and area sites for a series of display cases that take visitors back as far as 11,000 years ago and as late as the beginning of the 1900s.

Some are well known to local and area residents and visitors, and others more obscure, including Cluny Fortified Village, Fincastle Bison Kill and Processing Site, Fletcher Bison Kill Site, Fort Macleod NWMP Barracks, Fort Whoop-Up, Indian Battle Park, Kajewski Métis Cabins, Lille Coal Mine Town, Massacre Butte, New Oxley Ranche, Old North Trail, Stone Features including the Majorville Medicine Wheel and Noble Point effigy, Wally's Beach, and Writing-on-Stone/Áísínai’pi National Historic Site.


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Galt Museum celebrating harvest with new festival

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 The Galt Museum is celebrating Fall this Saturday with their first annual Harvest Festival.Pete Watson and Joel Bryant paying word on the Street. They play the Galt Museum’s Harvest Festival this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
 There will be an assortment of crafts, live music, hayrides and lots of fun for everyone.
“We try to do community events. The last one we did was Canada Day. This time we thought a harvest themed event would be perfect,” said Galt Museum Community events co-ordinator Leslie Hall.
 Coincidentally their harvest festival coincides with the actual harvest moon, Sept. 29.


“So we’ll be able to watch the moon rise,” she enthused.

But while that is happening, so will a variety of harvest themed activities.


 Fort Whoop-Up which is still closed to flooding in the summer, will be bringing up their hay rides, there will be food. The Windy Rafter Barn Dancers will be coming from their Fort Macleod area base to teach line dancing.

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Galt Museum examines community bands

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Lethbridge has a long history of community band, so Galt Museum archives assistant Trish Purkis wanted to bring that history to life as part of the Archives Exposed program.


“I wanted to showcase unfamiliar anTrish Purkis examines the community bands display. Photo by Richard Ameryd not seen photographs,” Purkis said adding sometimes the Archives Exposed program is connected to the main display in the main gallery, other times, like this time, it is a labour of love.


“ I actually started it because I wanted to find out when I started playing in the Lethbridge Kiwanis Band in the 1960s,” said Purkis, who plays clarinet in the Lethbridge Community band, which turns 25 this year.

After finding out she joined the band in 1963, she was surprised how little information was available about community bands in Lethbridge, so she started making a file by going through newspaper clippings and exploring the archives.


“I started playing clarinet with the band in 1963 and like most people I gave it up while I pursued my career, until 1987 when I dusted off the clarinet to see if I could still play,” she said.

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