Synopsis & Main Exhibits
The Grande Prairie Museum, is set in the picturesque Muskoseepi Park in Grande Prairie, Alberta and depicts the history of the region in a first class facility. The Museum is open year-round and was officially opened to the public in 1971. Its main focus has been the early pioneers (1911) who homesteaded Grande Prairie and came over the long and short trails and contributed to the early development of business in the Peace Region. Since its initial opening, the museum has now grown to a collection of over 55,000 artefacts under five main themes: Paleontology, Archaeology, Natural History, Human History and Curios and Collections.
The Museum has one main gallery, the Rodacker/Campbell Gallery that holds a rotating temporary exhibit each year, Stones & Bones exhibit, Transportation exhibit, Wildlife displays plus many more. The Gallery and its exhibits are also back-dropped with large, bright murals, beautifully painted by local Peace Country artist Tim Heimdal.
The Heritage Village is open May thru September and consists of 13 historical buildings all with a story to tell from the Grande Prairie area, antique farm equipment, and antique vehicles, the village also boasts beautiful flower beds, an arbour and a Heritage Garden that is maintained by volunteers. In 2009, one of the historical buildings, the old Fire Hall, was converted into a fully functional restoration workshop that can be used year round by volunteers and maintenance staff to complete restoration projects, and other projects based on the upkeep and maintenance of the buildings.
The Heritage Village really comes to life during community events, and special events throughout the Calendar year. The two most popular events during the year are Canada Day and Heritage Day, which are also highest in attendance records. Other community events that are hosted are Family Day, Old Fashioned Christmas and Seniors Day. The museum also partners with other local and community groups to promote other events in and around the community such as the Fiddlers Jamboree, Lantern Tours and the Heritage Fair.
Grande Prairie Museum Programs:
The Museum offers curriculum based school programs and each school year up to 3000 students visit during the program offerings. There are four different programs offered by the Grande Prairie Museum which consists of adaptable programs relevant to the Alberta Education Social Studies and Science Curriculum standards: Pioneer Experience, where kids learn butter making, ice cream making, rope making, old fashion laundry techniques, or building log cabins; Rock Hounds, where the students will learn the difference between rocks and minerals; Secrets of the Past, where students learn about artifacts and why they are important to an exhibit; and Reading Photographs, where students learn how to analyze photos and discover hidden meanings behind them. All the museum’s programs include interactive games featuring hands-on activities, a scavenger hunt and a tour through the Gallery or Heritage Village.
Community Programs: Heritage Summer Fun Family Days
The Grande Prairie Museum is partnering with the Grande Prairie Centre for Newcomers to present its community’s cultural heritage every Tuesday and Thursday from July 16 to August 22 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Visitors can learn fun historical facts about each country, special holidays & festivals through PowerPoint picture presentations, traditional dress, listen to music, create a craft, playing games and sample snacks unique to the culture. There is also the opportunity to interact with heritage interpreters as they demonstrate pioneer household chores, handicrafts and play games in the Heritage Village.
Forbes Homestead & Pioneer Hospital
Forbes Homestead & Pioneer Hospital is the Grande Prairie Museum’s most recent project. The Forbes Homestead was officially registered as a Provincial Heritage Site in 1976 and it is one of the oldest log buildings still standing in Grande Prairie. It contains the original log structure built in 1911 that was used as the first hospital in Grande Prairie, plus the two storey add on used by the Forbes’ as their residence, built in 1912. This homestead was beautifully restored to its original form to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the arrival of the Forbes family and was opened to the public on May 28, 2010. The site is opened for free public viewing, 7 days a week, during the months of July and August. There is free admission to the Forbes site, however, donations are gratefully accepted to help with the maintenance and upkeep of the site. Visitors are welcome to tour the site at their own pace, viewing the many interpretive museum signage around the homestead to learn about the history of the building. There is also an onsite Heritage Interpreter that will give all visitors a guided tour of the site, and provide visitors with a historical look at Reverend Alexander and Agnes Forbes and how they came to run the first hospital out of their home in Grande Prairie over one hundred years ago.
The Heritage Discovery Centre
The Heritage Discovery Centre (HDC), is located on the lower level of Centre 2000, is the Grande Prairie Museum’s second museum location. HDC was opened in 2003 and the exhibits here portrays the history of the Peace Region by means of a timeline: “The Earth Beneath the Peace” in a sequence from prehistoric through the ice age, fur trade, first settlers through to today’s major industries including agriculture, the lumber industry and oil and gas. The displays also include “Piper”, the life size animatronic Pachyrhinosaurus dinosaur that prove to be very popular with the children that frequent the museum. There is also a beautiful full size hide covered Tipi, a canvas covered “Caboose” that depicts how early settlers arrived in Grande Prairie and many other wonderful and interesting items for visitors to enjoy. Like the Grande Prairie Museum, there are many murals in the HDC museum, all painted by local Peace Country artist Tim Heimdal, that add dimension and detail to all the exhibits.
The Heritage Discovery Centre offers curriculum based programs for schools from preschool to Grade 6 all able to take place in their onsite learning centre. The most popular is the Dinosaur program which includes a talk about Dinosaurs and fossils, fossil casting, a mock fossil dig. This program can be adapted for any age group.
The Fur Trade/Aboriginal Awareness program includes a discussion about the Fur Trade and early explorers and how this changed the lives of the aboriginal people in Alberta. Games are played to give the students an idea of how difficult it might have been for these different cultures to trade with one another and some of the challenges each would have faced.
The Early Settlers program is a fun skit based on the Edson Trail Video. Throughout the viewing of the video, two ‘settlers’ comment on their experience crossing the trail. It adds fun to the learning. The students also get to make a Thaumatrope to take home.
The Kin Gallery is home to travelling art exhibits which are usually changed out two or three times throughout the year. Past exhibits have included local artwork, a First Nations, Inuit and Metis exhibit, a David Thompson traveling exhibit, The Edson Trail and many others.
Lower level of Centre 2000
11330 - 106 Street
Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Summer Hours for July and August:
Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 6:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Visit the Grande Prairie Museum's Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/G.P.Museum
10424 - 96 Street
Grande Prairie AB T8V 1Z9
Contact the Grande Prairie Museum for more information and/or to arrange group tours:
Forbes Heritage Interpreter:
Forbes is open for free tours 7 days a week:
Weekdays: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Weekends: 10:00am – 6:00pm
More info can be found:
Via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/G.P.Museum