Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins hosted a Student Tea at Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery on Wednesday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Students preserving central Alberta’s history

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins hosts event

Museums around central Alberta are benefiting from the efforts of summer students funded by federal programs.

On Wednesday, many the 30 students were recognized at a tea hosted by Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery.

Lorna Johnson, the museum’s executive director, said all the artifacts in the museum’s collection have been documented, thanks to Young Canada Works summer students. Two students are on staff this summer.

“What’s been great is the younger people are more able on the computers than some of the older staff, so we learn a lot from them,” Johnson said.

She said four Canada Summer Jobs students are helping run summer day camps and programs, which helps keep the programs going to earn income for the museum.

Student Rhys Herzberg, who is working at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, said one of the biggest challenges for museums is funding, and he wants to help out by repairing some of the museum’s technology.

“Especially with computers and different machinery, the biggest cost is always the labour. Bringing someone in to fix the wheelchair sensor for our racing game is a prohibitive cost.

“But I could get a sensor online for $20 and go fix it myself,” said Herzberg, who appreciated the museum’s collection of Paralympics and assisted technology that makes sports accessible.

Calkins said the employment programs provide a great experience for students interested in curating, preserving or showcasing the past, and assists central Alberta’s tourism industry.

“We have a beautiful history here in central Alberta. Whether you’re out at the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum or the Fort Ostell in Ponoka, or anywhere else.

“Stop by one of your local museums. It’s usually a very small entrance fee to get in, and you can see the fine work that a lot of these summer students do,” Calkins said.

“If the sun’s not shining, it’s always nice inside a museum.”

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