Nokomis & District Museum

2020 MAS Awards Recipients Announced

Posted by Em Ironstar on October 7th, 2020

At a virtual awards presentation on September 30, 2020, MAS presented several awards to deserving museums and individuals. MAS would like to congratulate all the award winners in the following categories:

You can also see a full video recording of the presentation on YouTube:

Award of Merit – Institution (project/budget under $50,000.00) - White Butte Ecomuseum

Coordinated by White City, a town that proudly describes itself as "younger than your grandpa," the White Butte Ecomuseum (WBE) has taken significant steps aimed at celebrating the intrepid spirit of their founders, paying tribute to the First Nations Treaty 4 territory they feel privileged to live on, and offering a heck of a lot of interactive fun! From interpretive trails to the audio recordings provided by community elders, they provide a window on the rich heritage and stories of their region, a tale of wholehearted passion, hard work and home. In May 2016, the WBE was singled out for their educational programs with an award from Saskatchewan's UN University Regional Centre of Expertise for Education for Sustainable Development.

The WBE is being nominated for their unique and innovative Ecology Heritage Project (EHP), which gives students and teachers an opportunity to explore and discover natural and cultural heritage features on a section of pasture land near White City that is protected by a conservation easement. In 2018, the EHP  was piloted on a 1.6 square kilometers of pasture land that had been offered to the WBE for educational purposes and is protected by a conservation easement through the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation.

Developed in partnership with the town, the school, the University of Regina, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, and Nature Saskatchewan, the EHP  was designed to engage with the wider community to deliver environmental and sustainability education programming to grade 4 and 6 children. Through 8 lessons given over 3 days, the EHP  activities focused on the native biota, sustainable pasture management, and citizen science. In all cases, the intention was to foster heightened environmental awareness by learning from place, rather than inside a classroom. Feedback about the EHP has been positive and encouraging, suggesting that the WBE has potential as a way to inform and inspire people about aspects of sustainability, including the importance of biological diversity, evolution, our dependence on the natural world, and how we learn from nature . The WBE could thus be a valuable model for any community that wishes to respect both the cultural and biological diversity in their region.

This project deserves to be recognized, since it has not only galvanized a young Ecomuseum; it has fostered effective education and raised the profile of local heritage assets.

Award of Merit – Institution for projects over $50,000.00 - Clayton McClain Memorial Museum, Little Pine First Nation & Lucky Man Cree Nation

The Clayton McLain Memorial Museum is a small-town museum located in Cut Knife Saskatchewan. The Museum is located on Treaty 6 Territory and has a rich history of partnership with surrounding Indigenous communities.

The summer of 2019 was a very busy summer for the Clayton McClain Museum. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Indian Brotherhood Trust Fund the museum was able to partner with Little Pine First Nation and Lucky Man Cree Nation on a three-part project called “Moving Forward with Reconciliation” that was initiated by Chief Wayne Semagnuis and councilor Richard Checkiosis of Little Pine First Nation.      

The first event was held on July 2, 2019 in Fort Walsh SK to recognize 140 years since Chief Minahequosis (Little Pine) and Chief Papaway (Lucky Man) were coerced into signing an adhesion to Treaty 6 because their people were suffering from forced starvation. This memorial event and was attended by over 550 people. It connected the attending members of Little Pine First Nation and Lucky Man Cree Nation to their ancestors and traditional territories by offering a feast and a mini pow wow in their honour. Jimmy O’Chiese of the Yellowhead Tribal College in Edmonton Alberta spoke and told the Cree Creation Story and how it is intimately linked to the Cypress Hills, as well as introducing the concept of land-based education for those in attendance.

The second part of the celebration took place in Cut Knife on July 5, 2019 and was attended by over 350 people. This event connected the local Indigenous people to the sacred artifacts that are held in trust in the collection of the Clayton McClain Memorial Museum. These items are normally kept separate from the rest of the collection in a secure area and are cared for by Elders through ceremony and protocol, but were brought out to be displayed for the day after the blessings and a smudging ceremony. This event also included a traditional feast and a much larger mini pow wow with dancers from Little Pine, Lucky Man, Sweetgrass and Saddle Lake. The feast and pow wow were used to honour the sacred items and the ancestors who used them in ceremonies. Another important part of the purpose of having the event in Cut Knife was also to educate people about the events that occurred 140 years ago.        

The third part of the event took place on September 9, 2019 at Fort Pitt and was attended by approximately 150 people. This conclusion to the celebrations connected the Indigenous people in attendance to Treaty 6 territory and the lands they ultimately came to reside upon.

This three-part celebration heralded many firsts for many of the people involved. Overall, it was an event that should be remembered as a step towards ongoing reconciliation – a journey where there is still much more work to be done.

Award of Merit – Individual - Bernadette Leslie, Fred Light Museum, Town of Battleford

Bernadette Leslie has spent more than 40 years working with the Fred Light Museum, including spending 35 years as manager. Over the years, she has promoted the museum sector by working with various groups in Battleford, being a valuable historical resource for their projects. Bernadette is continually working to promote the museum sector in Saskatchewan by making the Fred Light Museum visible in the community.

She is responsible for developing and coordinating various activities that draw people to the museum. Some of the most notable recent activities include developing children’s day summer camps, where over the years, children have learned such skills as making bird houses, kites and candy dispensers, along with fun activities such as scavenger hunts in the museum. One of the most successful and important day camps was the Bicycle Safety Rodeo.

Bernadette has also developed and coordinated the highly successful Family Fun Day which was held at the museum in 2019, in conjunction with the Battleford Parade.

Bernadette has been heavily involved with exhibition development during her time at the Fred Light Museum in numerous ways including through lending artifacts to the Allen Sapp Gallery to augment their exhibitions and to The Battleford Community players who used artifacts and period pieces from the museum’s collection safely in their sets. She also worked with the Battleford & North Battleford Masons upon their amalgamation to develop an exhibit of their temple to display at the Museum.

The Battleford Vintage Auto club was also a recipient of Bernadette’s knowledge and expertise. With her guidance, they built a replica of the Lighthouse Service Station on the museum grounds, which also doubled as a meeting room and work area for the club, but is also open to the public during museum hours.

In addition, she worked with a local resident to build a woodworking shop on the museum grounds to showcase the resident’s father’s woodworking tools from the early to mid 1900s, and she also oversaw the construction of a working blacksmith shop, complete with forge.

Bernadette’s hard work and dedication over the years has ensured that the Fred Light Museum, with the help of a long line of 40 years of summer students and museum volunteers and Board members, has become one of the best locally run museums in the Province.

Award of Merit – Individual - Karen Lee - Nokomis District Museum

Karen is a lifetime member of the Nokomis community. She was raised on a farm near Nokomis. She continued living on a farm after her marriage; then retired from farming to live in town. She has been involved with the work at the Nokomis District Museum as a volunteer since the museum opened in 1980. Karen is a member of the museum board and served as president for 27 years following her father after his retirement as museum board president. Her leadership has enabled the continued operation of the museum.

Karen faithfully attends MAS and other meetings bringing information to the board and museum employees. Her knowledge of the operation and history of the museum is indispensable. Her help with grant applications, annual displays in the museum and in the community, the float for the annual Ag Society Fair parade and the many activities associated with the daily operation of the museum is much appreciated.

Karen's knowledge of the artifacts contained in the museum is second to none. Through her many years as a board member and active volunteer she knows where many artifacts have been obtained from and where they are located in the buildings. Her willingness to share her knowledge with others enables new volunteers and board members to learn about the importance of safeguarding the history and artifacts of the Nokomis District for generations to come.

Award of Merit – Individual - Valerie Finley, Luseland Museum

Valerie moved to Luseland in 1935, where she completed her schooling, married and raised a family of five. During that time Valerie was very involved in community work, including Girl Guides, various choirs and musical events, the Eastern Star and other community organizations. Always interested in learning, Valerie completed her education degree after her children were grown. She was a teacher at the elementary school in Luseland and taught there for many years.

In 1983 she was one of the core group who began the huge project of creating the Luseland Hub and Spokes – a history of the community and surrounding area. As one of the editors of the history book, Valerie played an integral part in the success of the project.

During the ensuing years talks began about establishing a museum in Luseland. In 1992, the Luseland Museum was opened with Valerie Finley as President.

She continued in this position for many years and today, at the age of 92 she is still an active and dedicated member of the Luseland Museum Board.

Upon the opening of the museum, Valerie immersed herself in learning the ropes of a museum and took the lead in the collecting, cataloguing and organizing of the museum artifacts. She followed the museum protocol in managing the collections and kept careful, exacting information on each item donated. Over the years she has catalogued thousands of items, each one carefully labeled.

One of her proudest accomplishments at the Luseland Museum was the completion of the nature display which includes Guinevere, the whooping crane. As the whooping cranes were common in the area in the early years, this is a wonderful and rare addition to a rural museum which Valerie is very proud of.

Valerie has become the keeper of local history and is the first contact for anyone returning to Luseland or researching family history. She always has time to meet and gladly shares any information she has available. She has documented detailed information on Main Street businesses, and knows the history of many of the original buildings in the town. She completed a complete history of the local vets.

We are thrilled to recognize Valerie’s commitment to the Luseland Museum and the history of the area with the Individual Award of Merit.

Young Professional Award - Kristine Flynn - Western Development Museum

Kristine was raised on the family farm near Morse, SK. Although she has lived and worked in the Saskatoon area for several years, she still has a strong connection to her home area. She stays connected with volunteers at the Morse Museum and Culture Centre where she worked as summer staff in 2006 and 2007. She volunteered with them from 2005-2017 which included returning home to help with tours and volunteering from afar by helping with the museum’s website and social media presence.

Professionally, Kristine earned a BA with Double Honours in History and Political Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2008 and started working for the Western Development Museum (WDM) in the Education Department at their Curatorial Centre (now the Corporate Office) in Saskatoon the same year.

Through her work at the WDM, Kristine develops and supports school and publicprograms at all WDM locations and manages the volunteer program. Over the last 12 years at the WDM, she has taken on varied tasks from webmaster to heritage skills demonstrator. Some of her more notable contributions are the excellent work she has done in the WDM volunteer program including creating a new volunteer policy and implementing improvements to the volunteer management system. She has also taken the lead on creating guidelines for reviewing school programs to ensure they are curriculum-based and meet WDM mandate. Through her hard work, Kristine has ensured the volunteers feel welcomed and valued at the WDM and that school children and teachers have a great Saskatchewan learning experience.

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