The Prince Albert Historical Museum has relaunched an old campaign to help future generations understand the COVID-19 epidemic.
Last year, the museum called for applications from students, encouraging them to submit their views on what it’s like to love during a pandemic. Museum educator Joanna Wreakes said she received few responses, likely because the province was still ahead of the curve.
More than a year has passed since the first recorded case in Saskatchewan, the museum has renewed its call for nominations and broadened the scope to include anyone in the community.
“We want to preserve the history of Prince Albert and tell the stories of the people who have lived here, and it is obviously a great story for those of us who live it,” Wreakes explained.
Museum staff have spent the past few months rummaging through the archives for newspaper articles about Prince Albert’s response to the 1918 Spanish flu and other pandemics that plagued the community. Wreakes said it was made for interesting read and got staff members thinking about what future generations will want to know about the city’s response to COVID-19.
They are looking for everything from written reflections and small artifacts to artistic pieces created during the outbreak – anything that can help future generations learn more about this time.
“People had a year to think and think about what this meant to them,” Wreakes said. “Everyone, I think, has taken on different projects. “
The museum plans to use these contributions as part of its next exhibition. The focus will be on how Prince Albert’s response to epidemics has changed over the past 100 years. If all goes well, the exhibit will open to the public on May 25.
Wreakes said they would also allow residents to lend items to the museum instead of donating them. There will also be a space for visitors to drop off items after visiting the exhibit if they choose to do so.
To donate or lend an item for the exhibit, call 306-764-2992 or email [email protected]
Educator role brings new appreciation of PA history
Joanna Wreakes started as a museum educator in October, and the past few months have been an education.
Wreakes, who is from Alberta, often visited Prince Albert as a child, but was unaware of the region’s rich historical heritage. Her new role allowed her to appreciate the region, she explained, especially its early Métis history.
“I have family here and I came here growing up, and you just think it’s a settled town of white guys,” she said. “Just watching the rich and rich Métis history here has been truly amazing. “
The COVID outbreak has forced Wreakes to get creative in fulfilling her role as a museum educator. Usually she organized school tours or spoke in person to out-of-town visitors. She still tries to accomplish this task, but her methods have switched to virtual tours on YouTube or Facebook Live.
Despite the challenges, Wreakes said the restrictions have given visitors a new appreciation for the museum as a cultural space.
“A lot of us have had to turn to digital programming and digital engagement, and it’s amazing how people get excited about being able to interact with things on a museum’s website. “she said. “It’s nice to see that the Historical Society and people are still interested in the history of the PA. “