Museum Week 2018 - Living together, Citizenship and Tolerance

Museum Week - April 23rd to 29th 2018

The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is proud to be participating once again in the international social media campaign known as Museum Week. For 7 days cultural institutions around the globe will be sharing their cultural content, whether it be from their collections, programs or special events, with the world. 

This year the theme for Museum Week is living together, citizenship and tolerance. Functioning under the belief that museums and all cultural institutions play a vital role in the development of our societies, Museum Week wants to dedicate this week to these shared beliefs in the hopes of forging links between museums and their diverse communities.

As community is at the core of the Whyte Museum's mission we always strive to show the world how our Banff/Bow Valley community has evolved from when Indigenous Nations traveled in the valley to our vibrant present day town situated in Banff National Park through our collections, programs and partnerships. 

Each day of Museum Week has its own designated theme that we will use to convey how Banff, the Bow Valley and the Whyte Museum contribute to the ideas of living together, citizenship and tolerance. Below you will find each theme/day under its own subheading. We will be adding content everyday from April 23rd to the 29th, so check back regularly this Museum Week to see the new content for each theme!

Monday, April 23rd - #WomenMW

In 1992, Diny (Diana) Harrison was the first North American woman to become an internationally certified full mountain guide and member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides. 

Born in Toronto, Ontario in 1958 and raised on skis, Harrison developed a passion for rock climbing at a youth camp in the Rocky Mountains when she was 14 years old. Harrison’s sense of humour carried her through more than a few insults from male guides and jibes about being the first ‘girl guide.’ She flustered examiners when she wore a borrowed Girl Scout uniform to her final certification interview. Clients who had a problem with a woman in the lead quickly overcame their reservations when they tried to keep up with her.

Harrison worked for Canadian Mountain Holidays in 1989 and was Assistant Manager for their Revelstoke heli-skiing operation from 1995 to 2002. She continues to guide in Europe and speaks English, French and German fluently. Harrison is a multi-faceted woman whose love of art led her to study at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Alberta College of Art and Design. Harrison is a multi-faceted woman whose love of art led her to study at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Alberta College of Art and Design.

Diny Harrison with her print of Mount Fay, 2001,
Rupert Bodenmiller photographer,
courtesy of Diny Harrison

Tuesday April 24th - #CityMW

Although cities are not our usual subject matter we do hold some materials pertaining to our cosmopolitan neighboring city of Calgary in our collections. An example of this can be found in our Archives & Library where we house the Byron Harmon fonds. Byron Harmon was a professional photographer who settled in Banff in 1903. Best known for his photographs of mountain views, having taken the position as official photographer for the Alpine Club of Canada from 1906 to 1913, it is not every day that you see evidence of some of Byron Harmon’s forays into the constructed human landscape. However, venture he did, producing the following images of Calgary from around 1918.

V263/2697, 301. Centre St. Bridge, Calgary, [1918], Byron Harmon fonds.

V263/2699, 303. In the Residential Section, [1918], Byron Harmon fonds.

V263/2701, 305. The Stockyards [1918], Byron Harmon fonds.

V263/2706, 309. Public Library, Calgary, [1918], Byron Harmon fonds.

V263/2707, 310. The Armoury, Calgary, [1918], Byron Harmon fonds.

V263/2709, 312. City Hall, Calgary, [1918], Byron Harmon fonds.

V263/2711, 314. Palliser Hotel, Calgary, [1918], Byron Harmon fonds.

V263/2715, 318. First Street West, Calgary, [1918], Byron Harmon fonds.

Calgarians and those familiar with “Cowtown” (as it was so nicknamed) looking at the hundred year old images above, may begin to ask themselves some questions:

What is left of the past and what has changed since? 
How many of the buildings in these photographs remain? 
How much green space is left or how much is being reclaimed? 
What will Calgary look like in 5, 10, 15, 20 years?  

The Rephotography Challenge 

For anyone who lives in Calgary or frequents the area, we would like to challenge you to find some of the places/buildings in these photographs and take a photo of what it looks like today. You might be surprised at what you find! 
Share them with us @whytemuseum and @cityofcalgary on social media!

Wednesday April 25th - #HeritageMW 

Connected to every artifact there is a piece of intangible heritage. A story. A song. A memory. It is this intangible heritage that connects us.

Regardless of where in the world you come from or what your experiences are, heritage can connect people across cultures, genders, political affiliations, and religions because the stories and the feelings they bring out are human.

One story that we have to share is connected with this beautiful dress. This dress was exhibited back in June of 2014 in the Indigenous Ingenuity exhibition and is currently up in our Heritage Gallery. On June 15th 2014, during the opening of the exhibit, our Curator of Art & Heritage Anne Ewen was told by Melinda Bearspaw that Lorna Bearspaw made this dress for her daughter Melinda who wore it in one of the last Indian Days Parades. Melinda laughed as she recalled wearing black shoes in the parade because she didn’t have moccasins.

This story is short and simple but is easily relatable to many people. Did your mother ever sew a dress or outfit for you? Was it for a special occasion? What about your shoes? Have you ever made moccasins? 

All of these questions, connections and memories arise in your mind and connects you to Melinda and her dress. It starts conversations in the museum gallery between visitors and even staff, creating shared connections. 

If you have a story or a memory that you were reminded of by this wonderful piece of heritage let us know by commenting below or getting in touch via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @whytemuseum! 

Thursday April 26th - #ProfessionsMW

Today’s Museum Week theme is all about professions so we asked our staff to let us in on why they chose to enter the museum world and what some of their favourite parts of their jobs are.

Courteny Green - Curatorial Intern 

Courteny Green joined the Whyte Museum from the University of Lethbridge as an intern in the curatorial department from January through April.

"I was working closely with the art and heritage collections to expand my education in Museum Studies." she writes.

Courteny's project at the Whyte Museum was to record biographies of artists featured in the collections to aid future generations at the Museum. She sees it as a great opportunity to engage not only with historical artifacts, but with the living community for which these objects hold significance.

She explains, "I chose to study Museum Studies because it is a career that offers endless learning opportunities. I love hearing people’s stories and a career in Museums offers a chance to protect and share those stories. One of the greatest misconceptions about Museums is that it is a place to see 'old stuff'. Thanks to the growing awareness of New Museology, the field is taking a stance against its stereotypes. Not many people coming out of high school realize that Museum Studies is an option for them. In my program there are only about a dozen of us majoring in it."

Courteny not only helped immensely behind the scenes on the artist biographies, but she was an integral member of the installation team for our latest exhibition 'From Morse to Whyte: A Dynastic Bequest of Japanese Treasures'. 

We wish Courteny all the best as she returns to Lethbridge to begin her career!

DL Cameron - Manager of Exhibition Design, Photography and Digitization


DL Cameron says that her favourite aspect of her job is being able to let her creative juices flow while designing exhibitions. Two of her favourite exhibitions that she has designed have been our most recent  'From Morse to Whyte: A Dynastic Bequest of Japanese Treasures' and our funky show last Fall as part of our Bow Biennial 'On the Fringe of the Bow' featuring tattoo, skateboard and chainmail art. 

Amie Lalonde - Digital Imaging Technician

Amie came to the Whyte Museum as an intern in the Library & Archives thanks to the Young Canada Works - Building Careers in Heritage program. During her internship she created an online exhibition from the archival materials of two Banff pioneers Pearl Brewster Moore and Edme Moore Reid. The exhibition, 'Mountain Women: The Lives of Pearl Brewster Moore and Edme Moore Reid', incorporated Amie's favourite part of her job which is learning about people and their lives through their photographs.

"In a way, looking through archival collections to build an exhibit is like a treasure hunt. Each little bit of information leads to another and as you go from file to file and fonds to fonds you get closer to revealing the bigger picture of exactly who a person was." 

Friday April 27th - #KidsMW

Here at the Whyte Museum we have the pleasure of exhibiting and inspiring work of amazing artists, and some of those artists are kids! Through our educational programming and amazing partnerships with local Bow Valley schools we have seen some beautiful art created by the young folks who walk through our doors.

Here are a few examples of the work created by the next generation of artists:

Canada Day Sidewalk Art is always a popular activity for those with the artistic flair to make our sidewalks a little more bright and festive for July 1st! 

 The Banff Community High School Grade 7, 8, and 9 students participated in a Canada 150 art project two winters ago. The theme of the project was to answer the question “What do you want Banff National Park and Canada to look like in 50 years?” Using scratchart and paper cut outs the students envisioned ‘Banff in 50’ using rainbow backgrounds to promote tolerance. Some of the artwork was on display at the Whyte Museum last summer to celebrate Canada 150

'Through the Lens' was a program led by our former Curator of Photography Craig Richards where he would lead high school students in after school photography workshops, teaching them the basics of photography, including the art of developing in the darkroom. At the end of the program the students would present their work in an exhibition at the Whyte Museum.

Emily McNaughton
 The future of the art world sure is looking bright! 

Saturday April 28th - #NatureMW 

There is no question that nature has a huge impact on the Whyte Museum. Simply to exist the Whyte Museum relied on the beauty and wonder of a very special place to flourish and inspire literally millions of people. From the Indigenous peoples who moved through the valley, to the early European explorers and surveyors, and to Peter and Catharine Whyte who made their home here and painted the landscape that is at the core of our collection, we owe much to nature's inspiring ways. 

In anticipation of our upcoming 50th anniversary this June and what will be a fantastic exhibition on Peter & Catharine called Artistry Revealed: Peter Whyte, Catharine Robb Whyte and Their Contemporaries we would like to share a sneak peak of said exhibition highlighting our beautiful home that is the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

WyC.01.106, Lake Louise, November, 1945-1950, Catharine Robb Whyte, oil on canvas.

WyC.01.431, Waterfall, 1935-1940, Catharine Robb Whyte, oil on canvas. 

Sunday April 29th - #DifferenceMW 

For the last day of Museum Week we are going to feature a book about a very important man from Morley, Alberta.  The book is Tatanga Mani: Walking Buffalo of the Stonies, and the man is Chief Walking Buffalo, aka Tatanga Mani, aka George McLean. The book was written by Grant MacEwan and his words on the inside jacket explain exactly why you should learn more about Tatanga Mani...

"Tatanga Mani tells the rich story of a man dedicated to the cause of brotherhood among all men. Schooled in "nature's university," Walking Buffalo served repeatedly as an emissary for peace, forgiveness, and human understanding. His travels eventually took him several times around the world with the Moral Rearmament movement."

We can't think of a better way to end Museum Week 2018 than by celebrating a man who emulated the ideas of tolerance, living together with fellow humans and the environment, and being a citizen of the world. 

The book Tatanga Mani is a part of our Library & Archives and anyone who wishes to read it can come in and learn more about Chief Walking Buffalo and his life. 


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