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MHS opens iGallery at Magrath Museum

Posted on March 27, 2014 by Westwind Weekly

A presentation by Jason Comins of the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta led the Magrath Museum’s annual general meeting last week.

A cheque for $1,000 was awarded to Magrath High School student Jared Sabey and MHS Art teacher Jordan Brame for their successful receipt of the Youth in Action award.

The money will be used to purchase two iPads, one to be set up in the MHS art room and one to display artwork at the museum. The iPads will work together and photostream pictures of the student’s artwork for guests at the museum.

“Jared will be able to show the community the talented work of his fellow students, as he felt it often goes unnoticed by the general public,” said Kristine Alston of Sabey’s award.

The meeting concluded with the election of a new board. Alan Dudley stepped down as president and Wes Balderson was voted in. Patricia Dudley took up the helm of vice president, Kristine Alston as secretary and Niki Wright as the treasurer.

Directors for the Magrath Museum Board were named as Donna Lyybert, Cynthia Harris and Bill Alston.

The board is also planning on updating a bylaw – which would allow four people, instead of three, to serve as directors for the board. Once the bylaw to increase the number of directors has been passed, Wendy Coleman will continue on as a board director as well.

“We would like to thank Alan Dudley for all his hard work as president and he plans to continue working closely with the board, taking charge of physical facilities,” the board agreed.

Dudley, who was president for the past five years, owes his love for the organization to past-president and long-time volunteer George Harker.

“I’ve always been interested in the museum. Patricia and I were away for 10 years in Eastern Europe,” he said of Harker, who got him involved nearly 10 years ago. “He invited me to get involved and I appreciated his offer.”

Anything that’s been accomplished or started in the past five years has been “a complete board effort,” said Dudley, who added a lot has been done in that time.

“Anything that was done was a combined effort between the board and the Friends of the Museum and the museum association members – all of the people helped work on everything,” he explained. “We acquired the land to the north (of the museum) – the old Dudley property – and we hope it will be the future home of the agricultural/industrial roots of Magrath display (we plan to put there.)”

The display will house the founding industries for both the Town of Magrath and Cardston County and will include grain, sheep/wool, beef and irrigation. A communal meeting place has also been discussed for the space above the display.

“We’ve appreciated the past support from the county and look forward to working with them as we progress in this important agricultural and industrial display of our past,” said Dudley of working alongside the county on future projects.

Dudley and his board also spearheaded an expansion project, which gave the museum some much needed storage space and an attractive bell tower, it also created the perfect home for the town’s cenotaph. The cenotaph was ousted from its original home, beside town hall, to accommodate the much needed firehall expansion late last year.

“We’ve created a filing system and are doing recorded oral histories. Everything is laid out as good as the Galt, it’s not just a bunch of boxes filled with junk,” said Dudley of the newly organized storage space, located in the basement. “We have also recently instituted a high-tech computer with state-of-the-art museum software, and are in the process of becoming members of the Alberta Museum Association again.”

During the renovation process membership to the Alberta association had lapsed, but has since been rectified. The museum also hopes to join the American International Museum and History Association in the near future.

A visit from the Galt Museum also merited the compliment that Magrath is “running the museum the way it should be run.”

“We are looking forward to our next displays, there will be a religious display including all religious groups – even the minority groups and the hutterites,” he said. “We are working towards, and envision, our summer staff dressed in period-costumes, with some of the older sages in town available to answer questions for tourists.”

Bringing more tourism traffic has been a goal of residents in Magrath for some time, to assist the museum hopes to become a tourism and information hub for those visiting. Dudley was also recently asked to head up the Mormon Corridor efforts, working alongside the town of Magrath and Canadian Badlands.

“We appreciate the great contributions of money, time and talent, both great and small. And the many, many people in this community to get us to the point that we are at now,” Dudley said of all the support both he and the board have received over the past five years.

“Wes Balderson will be a great leader to go forward in this, I look forward to that. I’m excited that you’re going to see some great things happen, as far as the museum being an integral part of the community, not just historical and we have a great number of people to work with.”

Dudley plans to continue working with the museum and board, doing about the same amount of work and assisting where he can.

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