The city is seeking feedback from residents on future programming at the Grande Prairie Museum as it completes the final stages of its expansion.

The museum is expanding into a space previously occupied by the South Peace Regional Archives (SPRA).

“It is exciting to see the expansion of the Grande Prairie Museum come forward,” said Mayor Jackie Clayton. 

“This project not only enhances our cultural heritage but also strengthens our community’s identity and sense of pride.”

The city says the museum has explored expansion options since 2016 to accommodate its collection of artifacts. 

The $805,000 expansion was approved in the 2018 capital budget, with work expected to be completed this year. 

“The Heritage Discovery Centre closed in fall 2022, eliminating an exhibit space, and SPRA has been renovating that space for their relocation, which is currently underway,” said Katie Biberdorf, city Sports Development, Wellness and Culture director. 

“With SPRA moving out of the museum, it allows for more space to expand the gallery and provide additional exhibit space that was lost with the closure of Heritage Discovery Centre.”

The city said in a media release that the expansion looks to increase the collection’s storage space, add a new exhibit area and improve the existing structure.

In 2022, Charles Taws, Grande Prairie museum’s curator, said the expansion could include a space for the Heritage Discovery Centre’s anamatronic dinosaur, Piper.

“I’m hoping to make the new exhibit much more interactive and (include) more electronic exhibits.

“Whereas most of the ones at Heritage Discovery Centre were mechanical, and they’re showing their age, but personally, I want to get a dinosaur hologram; I can’t say we’ll get one, but that’s what I’ll be asking for,” he said. 

The city website states, “The proposed addition will create a museum that meets federal and provincial heritage guidelines and enhances the Grande Prairie Museum’s current position as the leading community museum within the South Peace Region.” 

Biberdorf said the museum is part of the Alberta Museums Association’s recognized museum program, which makes it eligible for future grants.

Public consultation

The museum is seeking public consultation on what themes and topics it should focus on as part of its expansion. 

“I encourage residents to provide their feedback on what they would like to see included,” said Clayton.

The museum is offering open houses that will include a 30-minute tour of the museum and an opportunity to share feedback afterwards. 

The tours will begin on April 9 at 4 p.m., with the last tour at 5:30 p.m. and April 10 at 5 p.m. and the last tour at 6:30 p.m.

Additionally, until April 14, residents can take an online survey at engage.cityofgp.com/museum to express their ideas for new exhibits and programs.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 28, 2024 at 08:41

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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