Museum society launches history exhibit fundraiser

One hundred donations of $2,013 each are being sought to help bring a new permanent history exhibit to life in 2013 at Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

One hundred donations of $2,013 each are being sought to help bring a new permanent history exhibit to life in 2013 at Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

The museum society officially launched the Centennial Club campaign on Tuesday. It seeks $201,300 to go towards the $1.5-million exhibit opening next March during Red Deer’s centennial year.

Museum executive director Lorna Johnson said the amount is a “reasonable ask” from the community.

The Centennial Club funds will help the museum raise $400,000 for the project. The museum society has raised about $100,000 already. The City of Red Deer committed $1 million. It’s hoped that corporate sponsors, events and government grants will provide the remaining dollars.

Each contributor of $2,013 will receive a tax receipt and have their name acknowledged on a donor wall in the permanent exhibition.

“We have more than 200 names (on the donor wall in the entrance) from those who contributed to the building of this building,” said Johnson.

As well, contributors will receive a special invitation to the Centennial Club’s opening reception, and enjoy a “sneak peek” tour of the exhibition prior to public opening.

Johnson also unveiled the campaign image of a cream barrel donated in 1979 to the museum. Beginning in 1912, Thomas Kirton used the barrel to collect cream from local farmers and then it was delivered to the Red Deer Creamery.

Jack Olson, grandson of Kirton, and his wife Gayle attended the campaign launch where the cream barrel was put on display.

The museum society decided the barrel was a good way to illustrate the campaign. For one thing, cream rises to the top, which shows how the money will help bring the fundraising goal to the top. Plus, the barrel symbolizes the determination of people like Kirton.

“When my mother was cleaning up the (old farmhouse belonging to the Kirtons), this was part of the junk that was ready to go,” said Olson. “Gayle had my mother donate the barrel, along with some other stuff, to the museum.”

The project’s total cost includes design, construction, installation, administration and promotion.

The former permanent exhibit was around for 30 years before it was taken down a couple of years ago.

The new permanent history exhibition will consist of four separate themes — Unique Settlement History, Community Spirit, Innovators and Leaders, and Our Red Deer.

The museum society will soon finalize drawings from the design team.

The audio-visual component will be next on tap, followed by the building of displays that will get underway this fall. Museum staff is just finalizing the list of artifacts.

A number of exhibition projects are underway. Red Deer College motion picture arts students will interview more than 50 newcomers to Red Deer. Their stories will be profiled in the Our Red Deer area.