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Ira Provost tells the story of his life in Winter Count at Galt Museum

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Piikani musician, educator and storyteller Ira Provost tells the story of his life with a new exhibit at the Galt Museum.
Piikanikoan: Living Under A  Blackfoot Sky: A Modern Winter Count opened Sept 26 and  runs until Feb. 7.Ira Provost is excited about his new exhibit Winter Count at the Galt Museum. Photo by Richard Amery
“ When people ask me  to write a book about my life, this is it,” said Provost, who embraced the Piikani tradition of the winter count, by creating his own winter count–an autobiography about his life on a buffalo robe.

“It’s a  Blackfoot concept. It’s very personal. Families, clans and tribes would record important moments in their lives, he said adding people often consider the Blackfoot culture  to be a non written  culture.
“ But it isn’t true. We’re a very visual people, you can see that in petroglyphs,” he said.

 He focused in five different  themes for his  winter count— heritage, culture, music, career and gratitude.

 There are five panels  adjacent to the winter count, explaining the meaning of specific petroglyphs.
 To emphasize each theme, song lyrics accompany each panel, including a QR codes so anyone with a smartphone can listen to the songs themselves, which are also available on his albums “Under a Blackfoot Sky” and “Evermore.”

“ It’s very fluid, so I can add to it as well,” Provost continued.


Explore Fort Whoop Up history with Trader Tales

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Lethbridge has a fascinating history, which  the Galt Museum/ Fort Whoop Up and New West Theatre are bringing to life with Trader Tales. They are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Fort Whoop-Up this year.

Nick Bohle performing in Trader tales last summer. Photo by Richard Amery
 The last Trader Tales of the season is from 6-9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21 at Fort Whoop Up.
“Due to Covid 19, we only had two this season, one in July and the last one on Aug. 21.

They’re completely different stories,” said Galt Museum Resource and Development Co-ordinator Chris Roedler, noting they are also completely different from last year’s Trader Tales.
 There are 60 tickets available for the Aug. 21 show.


Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens open for the season with new guidelines

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Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens opened their gates, Thursday, June 11, albeit a month late, but staff wanted to ensure they were following Alberta Health’s post Covid guidelines.
“We’re excited to reopen the Garden experience according to Alberta Health guidelines. While we’re mostly outside, there are inside exhibits,” said Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens executive director Michelle Day.The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is open for the season. Photo by Richard Amery

“ We took the extra time to retool and wash and clean and to get the supplies and glass shields in place,” she continued.
Changes include sanitization stations inside the main gates and in the main building and  hours have been reduced to Thursdays through Mondays from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.. A maximum of 50 people will be permitted per hour and 10 people permitted inside the visitors centre as well as the tea pavillion. Guests are asked to stay two metres from other guests.

“We’re closed Tuesday and Wednesday, but we’re open on those days for private functions,” she continued, adding they are planning to be open until the end of September, and may stay open into October.

“That depends on  the weather and staffing. And we need to get started planning on the festival-of lights then,” she said.
There will no longer be guided tours, however patrons will receive comprehensive self guided tour tour brochures and signs have been inobtrusively posted next to the main features of the gardens.

“We didn’t want to disturb the natural beauty of the gardens,” she continued.



Galt Museum ready to re-open June 2 with new safety procedures in place

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The Galt Museum has held over their previous exhibits as they prepare to  re-open, June 2.
 Of course there are changes.

Graham Ruttan and new CEO Darrin Martens with “ A Painters paradise.” Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s not a grand re-opening. It’s a reopening. We’re being very careful. We’re following  Alberta Health guidelines,” said new CEO and Executive Director Darrin Martens, who moved here from the Peel Museum in Brampton in Southern Ontario to take over the position on April 9 just as Covid was starting to take off.
“We’re taking a very careful approach to reopening. The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount,” he continued.

The museum’s closure during this Covid 19 outbreak has meant a lot of work for Galt Museum communications co-ordinator Graham Ruttan, who has been busy revitalizing Galt Museum exhibits on the North West Mounted Police and the Nikkei Tapestry exhibits online which are now available on a multitude of social media platforms including Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and instagram. The Galt Museum also offers online access to over one hundred thousand records of objects from our collection of over a million items, including 85,589 photographs and 13,500 artifacts.

The museum is implementing several changes for the reopening.
 Visitors must go online to and buy tickets for a specific time and day, plus agree to a code of  conduct.
“We’ve brought back QR codes,” said Ruttan, adding visitors can  download an app so they can hear the audio portion of the exhibits on their own personal devices. They have also modified the permanent exhibits to remove  any tactile features and staff will be keeping a close eye on visitors to enforce the no touching rule.

Martens said the code of conduct follows Alberta Health  guidelines including proper social distancing,  hand washing and sanitization stations and limiting the number of visitors.
 The gift shop also has new procedures in place. If you touch an item and decide not to buy it, you put it in a box where it will be taken away and sterilized for 24 hours before being returned to the shelves. Masks are not mandatory for the Galt Museum.
“We had an opportunity to test things with a mock opening with staff and volunteers,” Ruttan said, adding staff have also cleaned and sanitized the exhibits.
“We’ve even cleaned the (permanent exhibit in the main room)  buffalo,” he said.
“We’re being very responsible in our approach to the re-opening,” he continued.

 Hours have also been changed.
 Galt Museum members have priority from 10 a.m.-noon, Tuesday through Saturday. The museum will be open from noon to five p.m for the general public, Tuesdays through Saturday. And from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays for everybody.
“ We’re closed Mondays so we’ll do a deep clean of everything every week,” Ruttan enthused.

“Come learn safely,” Martens summarized.
“I’m excited to be here. I’m a storyteller. So I’m excited to be able to tell the stories of Lethbridge,” Martens continued, noting he is originally from Swift Current, Saskatchewan and his sister has operated a veterinary practice in Fort Macleod for many years, so he is very familiar with Southern Alberta.
“I’m extremely excited to take on this position,” he continued.
“I was able to ask a lot of questions about how things are done  here and why we do them,” he added.


Galt Museum lets you enter a world of pure imagination with Worlds Imagined

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Go to the Galt Museum and enter a world of pure imagination, to borrow a song from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.Aimee Benoit tries out the Game Of Thrones throne in the Worlds Imagined exhibit. Photo by Richard Amery

 The Galt Museum opened a new travelling exhibit “ Worlds Imagined,” Friday, Sept. 27.

 The exhibit , created by the Cushing Memorial Library Texas A & M University , runs at the Galt Museum until Jan. 5.
“One of our volunteers read a blog about it thought it would be fun to bring it to Lethbridge. We’re the only place it is traveling to,” said Galt Museum Creator Aimee Benoit, noting it reminds her of reading the source material to her kids.

 The exhibit features close to 50 maps of worlds explored in a cornucopia of video games like Street Fighter and well known science fiction universes like Star Trek, Star Wars, Battle Star Galactica, classic sci fi from H.G. Wells, and worlds from well know works of fiction like the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter, J.R.R Tolkien’s  Middle Earth, Game of Thrones and Terry Pratchett’s Ankh-Morph from his “Discword” Series, which has two separate maps.
 There is even a map of all the places Ian Fleming’s James Bond has visited.

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