Museums show off history, agriculture

Prairie View Elevator Museum committee member June Letkeman, committee chair Linda Dyck and Jean Funk with the new mural during Open Farm Day on Sept. 15. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

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Local farms and museums opened their doors to the curious public as part of Open Farm Day on Sept. 15.

The tenth iteration of Open Farm Day hosted 56 sites across the province, including 23 new ones. The event was created for people to visit farms and other venues to learn more about how farms and agri-tourism sites operate.

The Prairie View Elevator Museum in Plum Coulee, Roland 4-H Museum and Pembina Threshermen’s Museum were three sites open during the event.

PTM Executive Director Kimberly Striemer said the day is a great opportunity for people to get into farms and museums and explore what the province has to offer. “You know they’re out there but you don’t know what it’s all about,” she said. “Museums aside, I think the exposure is great for rural farms in Manitoba opening their doors.”

A visit to PTM can be a great learning experience. “The little ones don’t realize they’re learning about history, about their local heritage because they’re having fun,” Striemer said. “That’s a great introduction to it. History is very important for a lot of different reasons but also to a lot of different people. It’s so personal.”

The Prairie View Elevator Museum opened in their current location in 2010. It gives visitors the chance to explore a grain elevator, learn how it worked and check out some of their other exhibits.

Committee member June Letkeman said the elevator reminds people of the community’s connection to agriculture. “We are a farming community,” she said. “A lot of people that come through here remember going to grain elevators as they were younger and it reminds them of how the farming was then.”

Letkeman said the committee has tried to restore the elevator so visitors get the chance to see how it actually worked. “We are an agricultural community and we have the interpretive centre where we can show people how it was,” she said. “How people used to drive the grain truck in and unload their grain and then sell their grain and load it on the train cars. We try to explain it all to them.”

Letkeman said a visit to the museum can be especially beneficial for people from larger cities. “People come from the cities and some people have never seen a grain elevator,” she said. “Just on Thursday we did a tour of some people from Ottawa that had never even seen a grain elevator. They were very interested in how it worked, so I think it’s a real benefit for people.”

Letkeman said the committee tries every year to change their displays and feature something new. This year the museum was showing off their new mural that shows a truck coming into the elevator.

In 1913, Roland was home to the first 4-H club in Canada. The 4-H Museum, which opened in 1990, captures a snapshot of that history and takes visitors back through the history of the organization.

Board member Leanna Scott said the legacy of having the first 4-H club is significant. “In that first year there was over 100 kids in the first 4-H club,” she said. “I’ve been a 4-H leader for five years and the kids always enjoy the different things we do.”

Museum curator Kyla Orchard said 4-H can give kids many skills. “They do public speaking, learn how a business meeting is run, as well as project skills such as foods, sewing, machines, crafts, woodworking, gardening just to name a few,” she said. “Project options are really endless because once members have been in a club for a couple of years they can pick their own topic as a project and do just about anything.”

Pembina Threshermen’s Museum manager Kimberly Striemer (centre) and volunteers Alyce Klassen and Betty Warkentin were on hand to welcome visitors during Open Farm Day on Sept. 15. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

Artifacts on display at the Roland 4-H Museum, which was open for Open Farm Day on Sept. 15. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

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