Our Network

In 1989 the Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Alberta Museums Association was held in Grande Prairie. The museums in northwestern Alberta participated in this very successful event and worked together over a period of several months. When it was all over, they decided it might be a good idea to continue communicating on a regular basis and to undertake some joint ventures that would be of benefit to all. On December 4, 1989 the group held its first meeting at Grande Prairie Museum and printed the first issue of a quarterly newsletter, which included meeting minutes and ideas and thoughts on what activities might be considered. Hence, the Spirit of the Peace (SOTP) was born in December, 1989.
The SOTP museums meet quarterly, at different museum locations throughout the vast region of the Peace. Museum representatives report on activities, vote concerns, request information and support each other as needed. In the last decade the meetings have also become somewhat of a clearinghouse. That is, Museums Alberta, Alberta Historical Resources, the Archives Society of Alberta, regional tourism associations, etc. have all brought speakers to the meetings.
The group continues to take on joint projects. The network published “Sense of the Peace” in 2014, which is available at museums across the Peace. Our meetings, newsletters, and joint projects keep us informed of activities in heritage preservation across the district and keep us strong as a network.

The 30 some odd museums in the area wasted no time getting projects underway. A bookmark and a nine-year calendar had already been printed for the conference. The latter was produced in part to entice tourists to explore beyond the highway, finding the past, enjoying the present. In August the group organized the first heritage bus tour that took participants to 13 museums in the Peace Region.

To establish a visual identity for the group a logo was designed for use on all printed material. Work on creating a brochure was begun in late 1990 and published the following year. Full colour and complete with photos and captions, this promotional piece was distributed at the Peace museum sites and through visitor information centres all over Alberta. This was the first very successful advertising material produced by the Spirit of the Peace to promote their institutions and programs. Not resting on their laurels, the group designed a joint project to erect seven large highway signs at entrances to the Peace area. Through individual grant applications to the Alberta Museums Association Special Grants Program, core funding was obtained and the signs were placed at strategic, heavy traffic, highway turnout locations. Ever on the lookout to save money, the Spirit of the Peace had the signs painted at a penal institution, which left some funds for other promotional efforts. Shortly thereafter, an advertising agreement was signed with CKUA Radio Network, Edmonton.

Over the past eight years good public relations have been stressed and liaison with all local media has been well established. In early 1996 Peace Country Farm Life, a bi-weekly paper with over 70, 000 readers, reached an agreement with the Spirit of the Peace to run a regular feature on the group, highlighting one of the museums in each issue.

In addition, a major research project was undertaken in 1995, which resulted in a comprehensive report produced by consultant, Roberta Hursey. Two years later the Spirit of the Peace Museums completed a 16-minute promotional video. In 2000 a professionally produced traveling exhibit was created, which is being displayed in museums throughout Alberta.

In terms of Regional Museum Grants Program projects, the focus on Exhibits is consistent with the projected phases when the program was first introduced. It is also significant that the first project focused on improving museums in all facets of museum activity. A museum professional was contracted to travel the Peace Region and assist each museum with whatever challenge whey were facing, which included collections, registration and management, proper handling and storage, display design, storyline development, marketing, etc.
The Phases of Our Historic Future have been as follows:

1. Structuring a Regional Network (1989-1994)

2. Regional Grant 1994

Peace Region: "Advancing Museum Standards." Project successfully completed in 1995.

3. Regional Grant 1995

Researching the Region: "A Sense of the Peace," by Roberta Hursey. Project successfully completed December, 1997.

4. Regional Grant 1996

Promotion of the Peace: "Discover the Spirit of the Peace," a 16 - minute video by Aquila Productions, Edmonton. Project successfully completed December 7, 1997.

5. Regional Grant 1998

Exhibit for the Peace Country and beyond: "Treaty #8 Display and Promotion Project." Project successfully completed on March, 24, 2000 complete with curriculum based education kit for schools.

6. Regional Grant 2001

Education: "Taking Peace History to the Schools."