The Hay River Heritage Centre celebrated its grand opening for the season on June 1.
Peter Osted, the chair of the Hay River Museum Society, was pleased with the afternoon of opening events, which was enjoyed by more than 30 people, but he said there are still many outstanding things to be done at the museum this season.
“We want to see more local people coming in,” he said. “But I also want more locals to volunteer to take on special projects.”
Osted said the society isn’t looking for people to help with day-to-day operation so much as those who have a particular interest or a specific project in mind.
However, he also called for interested parties to help clear a lot next to the heritage centre.
“We have a lady who has agreed to come in and help with the landscaping and gardening, but there is still so much else to do to be ready for the season,” he said.
Unlike other years, the opening festivities on June 1 also played host to the Naaka Arts Festival, which is a celebration of art and creative projects in the past year by students at Diamond Jenness Secondary School, and even some from alumni.
“We usually do the exhibit at the high school,” said art teacher Rosanne Dahl. “But this year we were invited to share the opening, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get the students’ work out in the community for more people to see.”
The projects on display include welding and carpentry work, fashion design, and flags made during the 30 Hour Famine event, as well as fine arts pieces. They will remain at the heritage centre until Aboriginal Day, June 21.
One exhibit in particular melded the heritage and art sides of the event. Students had created plates wrapped in muslin inspired by various well-known artists. Dahl said the idea was to incorporate pieces of art history into the work, as well as practising techniques such as wrapping with muslin and painting.
“The former art teachers have left this great legacy of fine art and established traditions over the years of displaying and encouraging art in the community,” she said. “It’s really all the students. All we do is facilitate the process and they shine bright.”
As for what is coming up this season at the heritage centre, Osted said to look forward to high tea on July 1, as well as a photography exhibit on loan from the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre in Yellowknife called ‘Close to the Heart’ featuring mothers and their children in the North.
“Other events will be very much like this,” said the museum society chair. “People can come in and have a cuppa, some dainties, and take in the history.”
— Sarah Ladik