The Frenchman Butte Museum is hosting their annual Museum Festival Day, Sunday, Aug. 12.
This year there will be a special exhibit of artifacts from the 1885 North West Rebellion which will include clothing, firearms, battle medal, equipment and personal items of several participants in the events associated to the uprising.
The museum displays a buckskin jacket which belonged to Métis leader, Louis Riel. The jacket was acquired from him in trade for services provided near Prince Albert just prior to the beginning of hostilities in 1885. Well worn, it features intricate bead-work decoration.
Also on display will be a collection of items that belonged to Steele’s Scout, Donald McRae; a North West Mounted Policeman who enlisted in the Scouts and was wounded during the battle of Frenchman Butte. This display will include the service medal he was awarded honouring his participation. Of particular interest in this rare case is the awareness of his exact position on the battlefield when he was wounded; and his insistence on remaining at his post until he expended his ammunition allotment. McRae was then evacuated and subsequently recovered. In addition, there will also be examples of several firearms that were issued to the troops, as well as a native’s muzzle loading “trade musket” available for viewing.
Festival Day will begin at 10 a.m. with an under-tent, interdenominational church service. At the conclusion of the service the museum’s complex of eight exhibit buildings will open for visitor touring. They will remain open until parade time at 1 p.m., and re-open following the parade. As part of the day there will be pioneer skill demonstrations that include rope making, blacksmithing, telegraphy and several women’s homemaking skills.
One of the highlights of the day is an entertaining stage show that begins following the church service and features a variety of entertainment with old time bands, dancers, vocalists and variety acts that continue until 4 p.m., interrupted only by the parade.
The museum’s huge street parade commences at 1 p.m. and is expected to include horses, wagons and buggies, floats, classic cars, farm implements, recreational vehicles and a variety of yet to be determined attractions. Featured in the parade are some of the original members of the museum, some having served since its inception in 1979.
For the kids the museum offers a free “bounce house” for them to experience. This gigantic inflatable attraction will provide hours of entertainment for energetic children of all ages. There is also a playground nearby and a mini-golf course, featuring historical structures of the district as the obstacles.
One popular attraction of the festival is a silent auction. Housed in a large tent, this huge collection of items is on display beginning at 11 a.m. and is open for bids until closing time of 3:30 p.m. The auction is a major fundraiser for the museum society, and they are grateful to the donors and bidders for their generosity.
Classic car enthusiasts won’t want to miss the display of these highly appreciated vehicles, presented for your inspection by owners who sometimes travel long distances to participate. The types of vehicles vary from year to year, but they are always a source of marvel and attention.
Food is always an attraction at Museum Festival Day, and the “country made pies” create a line up, served with or without ice cream. Lunch is hot dog and pop, juice or coffee time, and they’re available throughout the day.
The Frenchman Butte Museum always offers a scrumptious roast beef supper at the end of the day, complete with baked potato, coleslaw, baked beans and coffee or juice. The supper is served beginning at 5 p.m. and is reasonably priced. The line up moves very quickly!
A new service to the museum is a Heritage RV Park, located on the east end of the complex. There are currently six fully serviced sites which provide visitors with a base from which they can explore the museum and the nearby historical sites of Fort Pitt Provincial Park and the Frenchman Butte National Historic Site.
The Frenchman Butte Museum is developing into a “heritage venter” as its services expand with each passing year. It has grown well beyond being just a museum, and the membership invites you to participate in their celebration of our heritage Aug.12.
It is located in the hamlet of Frenchman Butte, 45 minutes northeast of Lloydminster; from Highway 17 turn east at Alcurve on Highway 3, cross the North Saskatchewan River and watch for the signs. Admission is by donation, in support of the cause.