Darlene Foster's Blog

Museums of Medicine Hat

Posted on: January 25, 2014

I have loved visiting museums for as long as I can remember. As a young person, I would rather go to a museum than play sports or hang out with friends. My aunt and I would often spend entire days at the Medicine Hat Museum which  at that time was a log cabin filled with items from the past. We liked to pretend we were living in the pioneer days. The original museum has been moved a couple of times since then and is now housed in the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre. Last summer, my grandson and I stopped in to view the displays. I was pleased he shared my excitement of museums. The displays were well put together with some of the original items  still showcased as well as many other artefacts. Here are a few samples.

Items from the original log cabin museum

Items from the original log cabin museum

Toys from the past

Toys from the past

The cowboy lifestyle

Representing the cowboy lifestyle

A dressmaker's dummy

A dressmaker’s dummy

A note left by a frustrated homesteader

A note left by a frustrated homesteader

We also visited The Pioneer Village located on the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede grounds. A collection of heritage buildings from the surrounding area which includes a general store, a church, a fire hall. a school and a blacksmith shop.

A typical prairie general store built in 1924

A typical prairie general store 

Items for sale in the general store. Look at those prices!

Items for sale in the general store. Look at those prices!

How many miles has this trunk travelled?

How many miles has this trunk travelled?



Grandson by a prairie church built in 1924

Grandson by a prairie church built in 1924

It was a fun visit exploring the past with a young person. I’m so pleased that communities realize the importance of preserving a way of life that is no longer.

Do you enjoy visiting museums and heritage buildings?









42 Responses to "Museums of Medicine Hat"

That’s something we’ve not explored much, but I think I would like it. It’s nice to see you and your grandson enjoying it.

We often think of history and museums being in Europe and older civilizations but there is a lot of history here in North America as well. I visited the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming a few years ago. It was fascinating.

Hi Darlene, visiting museums has been a life long passion of mine. I love the feeling of spotting something that was used in my parents or grandparents time. These days my grandsons do the same but they point out things Terry and I used ‘in the old days’ (their words not mine!) Nice to see your grandson enjoying it too.
It was interesting to see the tines of golden syrup and the lard, both were staples in mum’s kitchen – the same, just different packaging.

I knew you would enjoy the nostalgic items Barbara. Interesting to know similar items were used in England as well as Canada at the time. I guess our things will eventually end up in museums too!

Thank you for sharing this nostalgic journey into the past. I particularly felt moved by the toys. There is something so magical about preserving them, as I always think that something of the child’s soul lingers in the old buttoned teddy’s eyes, or the dolly’s raggedy hair.

The toys are my favourite as well, especially the teddy bears. I think I may still have mine somewhere.

Especially like the toys from the past!

The toys then were so simple but so very special. You can’t hug an Ipod can you?

No, I haven’t visited many museums in my time. As I ‘mature’ I find myself looking back more and more. These photos made me smile. Maybe I will make a greater effort to go museum cruising. I’ve been to Toronto’s AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) about ten or so years ago after a huge renovation.

Lovely your aunt and you enjoyed visiting museums together and now your grandson. What a lovely way to spend time together and learn while enjoying each other’s company. 🙂

Thanks for the comments. I am pleased I can share my love of museums with the younger generation. My daughter also enjoyed visiting museums with me. It is a wonderful way to spend time together.

I love museums and History. We must understand our past in order to appreciate our present.

Kind of a real life “I Spy” journey. I think I Spy the Duke of Windsor!!! What a treasure of a place to explore first with your aunt and then with GS.

There is so much to be said in just one item or picture. I was able to explain the whole story of the Duke of Windsor. He was popular in Alberta as he owned a ranch there. Kids actually love hearing those stories.

Speaking of items that speak…thank you for tweeting the story about GS’s MLK project in the pizza box. I didn’t know the DofW had a ranch in Alberta.

Your GS’s story was wonderful, Happy to share it. As for the DofW, it was the same old story of the rich and famous; he came for a visit, loved the ranch so bought it. He didn’t spend much time there. Don’t think it was Wallis’s cup of tea.

Those were the days!

They are fun to relive through museums and stories. I don’t think I would want to go back to those days. It was not all fun and games. (I would like the prices of grocery items though)

Enjoyed your visual tour of a museum, especially the canned goods and toys. Reminded me of Little House on the Prairie and Olsen’s Mercantile. Fun looking at the items. That’s nice your grandson enjoyed visiting with you! The dates through me off with 1924 and 1937. What was the time period of most of the items in the museum?

Glad you enjoyed the tour. The items on display would be mostly from the early 20th century when the area was first settled. Alberta became a province in 1905 and Medicine Hat was incorporated as a city in 1906. My great grandparents immigrated to the area from Eastern Europe in 1911. We are not a very old community. The history of the First Nation’s People goes back a long way of course.

The history of the First Nation’s People really sounds interesting. It’s amazing Medicine Hat is such a young community. Great story material. Have to be some secrets there for Amanda.

You are so right, Amanda will be uncovering a few secrets. I wrote a bit about the first nations history in an earlier blog you might find interesting. https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/the-worlds-largest-tepee/#comments

Oh wow! I would love to tour museums with you. We have spent yesterday visiting a place up north (although it rained) where the treaty was signed back in 1840. We also have heritage buildings and small heritage villages, some have special days for reinactment. You would love those. Thanks for sharing this. Love the photos. So cool your grandson loves going with you.

If I ever get to NZ I will have you for my tour guide for sure. It is cool GS enjoys these things as well.

Can you actually buy the food at the General Store? 🙂

LOL It would not be a good idea to buy the food as it would be very old and smelly. I imagine the tins and boxes are empty. It does give you a good idea of what the shelves looked like almost 100 years ago and the prices back then. Of course people didn’t make as much money then either.

My husband and I love visiting the historical museums (of course, you could tell that from all my Colonial Williamsburg posts). When we lived in Omaha, we used to go to Living History Farms in Iowa. When we lived in Wisconsin, we would go to Olde World Wisconsin. Those places teach so much about the past and you really get to experience what it was like.

As for the prices, it’s all relative. It might be 85 cents for that, but keep in mind how little you got for an hourly wage.

Thanks for sharing all the pictures!


Thanks for the visit. I knew you would appreciate this post as we share the love of museums. So true, the prices are relevant to the times. It still catches one off guard when you see them. Hope all is well at your house and you aren’t working too hard.

Things like this Americana just don’t exist in Miami. I could spend days in places like this just breathing it all in.

I find these places to be very soothing, always have. Thanks for stopping by Carl.

Oh yes, very much! Glad to see you are introducing the next generation to these wonders.

Museums are so much fun to visit. I’m so pleased the next generation is interested in coming with me.

Now that is what I call a museum!

Thanks Andrew. It has eveloved over the years but I’m pleased they kept some of the original stuff.

Museums and heritage buildings are two of my favourite places to be (along with libraries and used clothing stores). It’s amazing to see things from our past. I love the King George/Robin Hood Flour calendar!

I live within driving distance to Great Village, where Elizabeth Bishop lived, and visiting the heritage buildings and antique stores are some of my favourite summer day trips. 🙂

We have a lot in common since I also enjoy visiting libraries and used clothing stores (as well as book stores). You are lucky to be living close to Great Village.

These are beautiful pictures, Darlene. I love museums too.

I had a feeing you would love museums too. Glad you liked the photos Diane.

What a lovely thing to do with your grandson. I do like visiting museums although I tend to find them mind boggling because there’s so much to take in. A good museum is worth visiting several times, although admittedly that’s not always possible if you live nowhere near it. Mind you, some of the museums I’ve only visited once have made a big impression on me. You soak up the atmosphere as well as reading or looking at the displays, and that can stay with you for a long time. I like seeing old packaging, like those tins in the store you photographed.

I know what you mean, there is never enough time to spend in a museum. Some of the museums in smaller communities can be very good as they aren’t as mind boggling and very informative. I thought you might enjoy this visit .

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