Red Deer Museum thematic researcher

Oil and gas workers to tell stories of industry

Red Deer’s oil and gas history will be captured through stories told by the people who worked in the industry.

Red Deer’s oil and gas history will be captured through stories told by the people who worked in the industry.

Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery’s Rod Trentham will be collecting oral stories from the service industry starting from the early days in 1948, through the various booms to today. It will be part of the Remarkable Red Deer exhibit.

Trentham, now an exhibits programs co-ordinator at the museum, worked in the oil and gas industry in the 1980s.

“This will be the missing link in Remarkable Red Deer,” said Trentham, who was re-assigned from his educational programs co-ordinator position with the city.

“I think in 1958 we were the fastest growing city in Canada. A lot of that was oil service industry. It was a pretty sleepy little place.”

Trentham worked in the industry from 1979 to 1985. He said the mixture of people “shook up” old Red Deer.

“People were coming from all over Canada,” remembered Trentham.

“It’s an interesting milieu that really changed Red Deer.”

While there’s a small component of oil and gas and agriculture in MAG’s permanent exhibit, this addition will delve deeper into the history.

An interactive component of how to build a pipeline will also part of the project.

“It’s such a huge part of our economy here,” said Lorna Johnson, MAG executive director.

“We have people who have worked in those industries since the beginning.”

She said they are looking to talk to people who started in the early days and those who work there today.

“We want to talk to people who started with a truck in 1950 and now they have a major service company,” said Johnson. “We would be interested in hearing those kind of stories. … It’s just such a big part of our fabric here.”

The details are still being worked out.

Trentham is expected to begin interviewing in the next few weeks.

The project should to be up and running by the end of 2014.

To submit your story or for more information, contact Trentham at

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