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Thursday, 10 August 2017 07:00

A new Agriculture and Heritage Centre opened in Magrath

Written by  Demi Knight 
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Photo contributed Photo contributed Wes Balderson, president of the Magrath Museum, welcomes the crowd to the opening. Dignitaries in attendance are on the left and the members of the museum board on the right.

The Magrath Museum celebrated the opening of its new Agriculture and Heritage Centre on July 21 with an official ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new centre, that was built in addition to the existing museum, is a way to help highlight the rich agriculture background that the town has through exhibits and replicas, says President of the Magrath Museum, Wes Balderson.
“This centre is a set of exhibits that highlight the four industries in the area that got this town started, those being the cattle industry, sheep industry, grain industry and the irrigation system. We wanted this new building to highlight agriculture because that was really the beginning of this community and most communities in Alberta in fact.”
The opening of the new centre brought out more than 100 people from across the town to celebrate this new addition with an official ribbon cutting ceremony.
Refreshments and an open house of the new displays were what the night had to offer.
With special guest speakers at the ceremony including Mayor of the town Russ Barnett, the ceremony was quite the hit. 
Celia Parker, Magrath resident and the wife of a long-time museum member, was then brought up to the front to cut the ribbon and officially open the centre as the newest part of the beloved Magrath Museum.
The new Agriculture and Heritage Centre, is home to separate displays throughout the building on each industry that played a vital key in the production of Magrath in today’s society. Balderson says the centre has a great collection of history on these industries to share with the public.
“Inside we have separate displays on each of the four industries, with videos we put together on each area that include prominent people from the past. Then we had a board that highlighted the St. Mary’s River Irrigation System.”
The inside of the new centre also provides photos on the walls of early agriculture developments and equipment as well as a replica grain elevator with plexiglass walls that allows people to view the process of how grain is transported.
However, the centre doesn’t just provide an indoor display, but also nine artifacts on the outside grounds adjacent to the new building related to the agriculture industry, including a threshing machine, a hay rig and a slip scrape.
This new centre has been added to the existing museum building which has been home to displays of pioneers for decades. The museum itself allows the public to access hundreds of photos from the town’s past and more than 400 oral histories that were taken from elders within Magrath, as well as copies of old newspapers.
The grand opening of the museum, which fell on the same weekend as Magrath’s annual celebration days, saw hundreds come out to enjoy the weekend’s festivities and support the opening of this new historic treasure.
“We had well over 100 people there at the opening of the centre. It happened during the Magrath celebration on the weekend, so Saturday we had another several hundred come tour the facility. We were happy with the turnout,” says Balderson of the opening weekend.
The museum and new centre have extended opening hours throughout the summer from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so visitors and residents alike can enjoy learning not only about the town’s pioneers but now, also how the town was founded through its agricultural background.

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