Museums are the storytellers of a community’s history – a step back in time to where we started and how we’ve grown through the years. Since May 18 is Museums Day, we’re proud to profile Sunrise Corner’s two unique museums that are preserving memories for future generations.
Sprague & District Historical Museum
The Sprague & District Historical Museum was first opened in 2006. It is a multi-building display of local history, spanning from the nineteenth century to present day. It features a CN Rail telegraph office, an original barber shop, a trapper’s cabin and church building. In addition to a veteran’s monument, the museum also features records of all the local veterans who served in WWI and WWII as well as personal letters, large picture displays and records of every RM community and organization spanning from churches to sports.
The first European settlers came to the Rural Municipality of Piney in the late nineteenth century. They were farmers, loggers and builders. The Canadian Northern Railway arrived in 1900, built by 300 local men. The town of Piney sprang up around the train station, creating local jobs. Settlers also made a living in forestry. Before trains, logs of spruce, pine and cedar were shipped down the Sprague, Roseau and Red Rivers to Winnipeg using canoes. The museum features an original canoe used for this very purpose.
OPENING JUNE 6: The Sprague Museum is excited to open its doors to visitors starting June 6, 2020 from 1-5 pm every Saturday and Sunday until September 6. Weekday visits are also available by appointment. All
buildings are wheelchair accessible. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated to maintain this wonderful community resource.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a limited number of people will be allowed in each building at a time and social distancing will be enforced. The museum typically hosts annual activities, picnics and events for visitors of allages. This year, the committee is following health orders carefully and will adapt their operations and events as recommended – follow their Facebook page for updates. For inquiries, call Doris: 204-437-2210.
Gardenton Ukrainian Museum
The Gardenton Park sprawls over 63 acres, right next to the Roseau River. The grounds include the museum, hall, historic school house and outdoor stage. The museum has been in service since 1965, and comes with a large collection of historical farming tools, household items, traditional costume and photos all donated from local families to preserve the memory of their pioneer ancestors. Records of settler families and historical churches in the area are also on display in the museum.
Ukrainian pioneers settled the Rural Municipality of Stuartburn in the late nineteenth century. By 1896 there were 27 families in the area and that number swelled to over 100 families. By 1934 the town of Gardenton was at its capacity. There were over five stores, a post office, railway station, a church and cattle yard. All of this is depicted inside the museum on colourful murals.
The Gardenton Museum hosts an annual Fall Supper in September, the Gardenton Ukrainian Festival in July, and the Gardenton Heritage Tour. Details of a 2020 opening are still to be determined due to COVID-19. Follow their Facebook page for updates. For inquiries, call Kelvin: 204-425-8197.