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Galt Museum celebrates the wind with Weather Vanes and Whirligigs

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Maybe it's just a Lethbridge thing. But people have been interested in the wind for eons, so the Galt Museum is pleased to present a new traveling exhibit called Wind Work, Wind Play: Weather Vanes and Whirligigs, which officially opens on June 2 and runs until Sept. 2.One of the main pieces in Whirligigs and Weather Vanes at the Galt Museum, June 2-Aug. 31. Photo by Richard Amery

 The 30 piece travelling exhibition comes to Lethbridge courtesy of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau Quebec .
“ We actually don’t have anything like these in our collection,” said Galt Museum curator Wendy Aitkens.

“ It is an exhibit which is about the most common topic of weather conversation in Lethbridge — the wind — if it is blowing, how fast it is blowing and what direction it is blowing.”

The exhibit features a variety of innovative weather vanes and whirligigs created out of a variety of wood, copper, various metals and found objects like oil cans and juice jugs. They date back to the 1700s, though most of them are from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which reflect what people were thinking about at the time.

 There is a kinetic sculpture of a man milking a cow, a plethora of pigs, roosters, beavers and assorted animals.
“ It’s folk art, so there were created by people about things which related to their lives,” she continued.

 There are also more whimsical works including a fiddler, several people chopping wood, a guy kicking another guy’s butt and the centrepiece — a large Voyageur canoe created by staff at the Gatineau Museum. If you press a button, you can watch the voyageurs row, though you have to use your imagination to see how the wind would make the other items


Historic Lethbridge festival celebrates the ’60s with music and art

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This week is a good week to be fab and get groovy with the Historic Lethbridge festival.

The theme for the Paul Holden will be part of  Historic Lethbridge’s jazz concert this week. Photo by Richard Ameryfestival, which began May 3, is the ’60s so  there are a lot of ’60s related events sprinkled all over the city.  A jazz  concert at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, May 7 at 8 p.m.,  features the music of Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, Lee Morgan.

The performers include saxophonist Ryan Heseltine, guitarist James Oldenburg, bassist Paul Holden and drummer Kyle Harmon.Tickets, which cost $15 regular and $10 students and seniors, are available at, Long & McQuade Music, The Music Court Ltd. in Park Place Mall. 

The festival features a variety of events all over the city including a screening of the film “Gimmie Shelter” in the Lethbridge Public Library Theatre, May 8 at 7 p.m. It is about the infamous Rolling Stones Concert at Altamont, Dec. 9, 1969.
 The festival also features the launch of Belinda Crowson’s new book, “Southern Alberta’s Sugar Coated History,” May 9.


Galt Museum celebrates nerds with astronaut Roberta Bondar and comic book expert Scott McCloud

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Nerds once had the somewhat negative stigma of socially inept bookworms who are addicted to computers, video games, Dungeons and Dragons and Monty Python. It’s not the case anymore.  Nerds are now cool thanks to TV shows like the Big Bang Theory and the resurgence of Dr. Who, not to mention the face that everyone relies on computers today.Chris Roedler reads Scott McCloud’s Zot!. Photo by Richard Amery

“Nerd culture is no longer taboo than it was even five or six years ago. People now think it is cool,” said Chris Roedler, who is helping organize Nerdfest along with Leslie Hall, at Galt Museum, March 21-23.
The Galt Mueum is celebrating all things “nerd,” with a variety of activities happening including a talk with Canadian neuroscientist and astronaut Roberta Bondar,  an all night gaming session and a talk with comic book expert Scott McCloud. Unfortunately a superhero dance at the end of the weekend for which you can dress up as your favourite superhero, has been cancelled due to slow ticket sales.

“ A nerd is anybody with a penchant for one specific thing,” Roedler continued adding in addition to nerds now being cool,  the Galt Museum is also hoping to attract a younger demographic, though the events are open to everybody over the age of 14.

“We’re all nerds. You can be math nerds or music nerds. There are even sports nerds. Basically if you are enthusiastic about something and can’t wait to tell everybody about  it, then you’re a nerd,” said Los Angeles based comic book expert Scott McCloud who wears his nerd badge with pride. He also described himself as a movie nerd and a chess nerd.
“I’m also a nerd for my family,” he said.

 He will be a highlight of Nerdfest  kicking it off with a lecture about comics.

 It will be the lead in to his renown two-day comic book seminar — the only one in Canada‚  which begins March 22 and continues March 23. While the workshop is sold out  with people buyng  tickets from as far way as Vancouver and Toronto, there is still room at his opening lecture.

“It (the workshop) is more about the nuts and bolts of comic books. The lecture is a lot of fun. There’s 100 slides. It’s very fast paced,” he said.
McCloud has a five day seminar at a literature fair in Germany before he comes to Lethbridge.
“I have about a day to catch my breath, then I’m off to Lethbridge,” he said.

 He is best known for his comic Zot!, which he did from 1984-1991. And has since become an expert in the comic book world and a much in demand speaker. But it wasn’t always that way.
“I got into comics when I was 14. I wasn’t into them before. I thought they were just  for little kids. But a friend of mine gave me a big stack of comic books and about a year later I decided I wanted to do that for a living,” he said.


Galt Museum celebrates Canadian scientists

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The Galt Museum is celebrating science with their new exhibit, the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame, which opens Feb. 2 and runs until May 19.

Galt Museum curator Wendy Aitkens and Roy W Golsteyn work on a puzzle of a map of Lethbridge. Photo by Richard Amery
The travelling exhibit comes to the Galt Museum through the Canadian  Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa.
 It features displays of 34 well known scientists like Alexander Graham Bell and not so well known scientists like Bertram Brockhouse, a 1994 Physics Nobel prize winner who was actually born in Lethbridge.

“I always begin my courses by telling the students a Nobel Laureate winner was born in Lethbridge. We’re looking for the next Nobel Laureate,” said University of Lethbridge associate professor Roy M. Golsteyn who is studying cancer cells at the university.


“This exhibit is a good way to celebrate Canadian science and technology,” he continued.
“Lethbridge actually has the most scientists per capita of any community,” he said adding there are many scientific research institutions in Lethbridge including the Lethbridge Research Centre and of course the university.
 He was surprised by a lot of the names and faces in the exhibit.

“I’m always learning. I learned quite a bit. Canada has 58 Nobel laureates.One was born in Lethbridge and Richard Taylor was born in Medicine Hat. It’s really quite something, ” he said adding Canadian scientists’s work has contributed to much of the technology people take for granted today from defibrillators and stethoscopes to innovations in wheat production and even mapping. A Canadian even helped discover the quark- the elementary particles of all matter.

 So to enhance the experience, The Galt Museum has chosen several items which would not be without  the contributions of Canadian scientists.

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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