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Cemetery tours are an educational experience

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Wandering around a graveyard in the dead of night is how you’d expect a horror movie to start, but  the Galt Museum’s Belinda Crowson sees it as an educational opportunity — a way to step back in time and explore some of Lethbridge’s sordid history.


Belinda Crowson tells the story of Henry Taylor “Kanoose” the first notable  man arrested  by the North West Mounted Police. Photo by Richard Amery“I don’t try to freak them out, they freak themselves out,” said Crowson, after leading a group of southern Alberta teachers through St. Patrick’s cemetery on the north side of the city overlooking the highway.

It’s pretty easy to get freaked out by the ominous shadows of aged trees overlooking headstones silhouetted in the moonlight.


“It’s easy to get freaked out. We had deer in the first year, and all they could see was these glowing eyes and we’ve had porcupines in our third year,” she said. 

It is easy for ones imagination to get carried away, especially since Crowson will tell the enthusiastic  groups stories of suicides, unsolved murders, about Henry  “Kanoose” Taylor, the first man the Northwest Mounted police arrested for whiskey trading back in 1874.


“They  confiscated his whiskey, his horses and  a lot of his money. He hated the police ever since,” she explained.
 She hosts not only the spooky flashlight tours, but also tours during the day for families and classes of students.


 She was full of interesting historical tidbits, like the  nurse at Galt Hospital who lived at the hospital and passed away 39 years later— without taking a day off, and who was told not to go to church for fear of spreading communicable diseases, or the two nuns who have two different headstones,  in two different parts of the cemetery because the originals were lost.


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Fond memories of toys and games at Galt Museum

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Everybody has their own memories of their favourite toys and  games from their childhood.
“My favourite toy growing up was space Lego,” enthused Galt Museum employee Kevin Maclean,  proudly indicating a Lego space ship he donated in a case next to a Meccano set, a game of Twister and a Tonka dirt mover. He is proud to say he was so obsessed with playing with Lego that when his parents wanted to ground him, they took his Lego away.Anine Vonkeman plays witha  Blackfoot bone toss game. Photo by Richard Amery


His spaceship is one of over 60 toys and games donated by community members on display in the Galt Museum’s new exhibit, “Toys and Games,” which officially opened Oct. 1 and runs until Jan. 8.

 There are 130 artifacts on display including numerous items from the Galt Museum’s extensive collection as well as 60 others on loan from  community members and  Medicine Hat’s Esplande Museum.


“We wanted to look at what we gain from playing rather than just having artifacts,” said curator Wendy Aitkens. The items were chosen according to how they affect people’s lives.


“When I was growing up on the farm in the ’70s, our TV only had  three channels, but there was Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers and Star Trek reruns. So whoever came up with marketing a space themed Lego series was a marketing genius,” MacLean said.


“And they changed a lot in three years. The original space lego were just the original blocks,” he continued.


He said the instruction manuals that came with Lego kits  were an important learning tool for children, who had to learn to follow directions for the kit to turn out right.


“We learn from playing right from the beginning. When a baby shakes a rattle, it not only learns how to move their fingers, but that they can make noise too,” Aitkens said adding free play time, that is play not determined by a schedule like  school, play school and after school activities, is important for children because it encourages them to  use their imaginations, not to mention learn problem solving skills.


“If they are playing a game with others, like Scrabble, they have to learn how to problem solve and communicate, like by saying that word doesn’t exist,” Aitkens said.

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Relive your youth with Games and Toys at the Galt Museum

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Do you have fond memories of childhood toys like Lego, Meccano sets, old computer games and even simpler toys like dolls, Fawkes Marquis Bruinsma plays a giant game of Snakes and Ladders at the Galt Museum. Photo by Richard Ameryjacks, jump ropes, hula hoops and and marbles? Then check out the Galt Museum’s new exhibit: Toys & Games, which opens Oct. 1.


 There are 130 artifacts on display including numerous items from the Galt Museum’s extensive collection as well as 60 others on loan from  community members and  Medicine Hat’s Esplande Museum.


“We wanted to look at what we gain from playing rather than just having artifacts,” said curator Wendy Aitkens. The items were chosen according to how they affect people’s lives.

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Historic Lethbridge week begins with fashion show and concert

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David Renter will be playing cool jazz, May 3 at the Lethbridge Public Library. Photo by Richard Amery Lethbridge is going back to the ’50s this week, in recognition of Historic Lethbridge Festival, May 3-8.


The fun begins tonight, May 3 with a  ’50s fashion show and concert at the lethbridge Public Library.


If the ’50s music strikes your fancy, there will be an excellent selection of music from rock and roll to cool jazz during a special presentation at the Lethbridge Public Library downtown branch in their theatre, May 3 at 7 p.m. There is a rumour Elvis himself may show up.


The concert is a collaboration with the University’s  Theatre department as  that same night there will be a fashion show of ’50s clothing featuring outfits from the department.

Performers include mezzo soprano Sandra Stringer plus Deanna Oye. David Renter and friends will explore the “cool jazz” part of the ’50s, while a crack band consisting of Dale Ketcheson, Bruce Striebel, Bente Hansen and Amanda Lutsenko will handle the rock and roll part of the ’50s.


 They will be playing everything from Fats Domino to Elvis with a little bit of billie Holiday and Chuck Berry thrown in for good measure.

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Galt Museum presents “The Greatest Years You Never Knew: Lethbridge 1906-1913

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When you are looking at  the Galt Museum’s new exhibit, “The Greatest Years You Never Knew: Lethbridge 1906-1913” Belinda Crowson examines a paining of Lethbridge from 1912. Photo by Richard Amerywhich opens Saturday, April 30, don’t forget to bring your ideas for other exhibits, because the museum is planning ahead for the next couple years.


“We need help from the community, so we’ll have pieces of paper for you to write down your ideas. We’re planning for 2013-2015,” said curator Wendy Aitkens who was glad to let Belinda Crowson take the reins on this exhibit.
“I always enjoy having a guest curator because I get to see their process,” Aitkens said.

“That era is when Lethbridge transformed from a frontier town to become the city as we know it,”  said Crowson, who did a lot of research to create this exhibit which includes  a replica of a home made cave where some of Lethbridge’s original settlers would live rent and tax free. They’d dig a hole into the side of a coulee and reinforce it with any wood they could find.

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