Friday, 13 July 2018 04:58

Museums association honours Swift Current resident with lifetime achievement award

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The Museums Association of Saskatchewan (MAS) presented an honorary lifetime achievement award to Swift Current resident Hugh Henry, June 8. From left to right, MAS Executive Director Wendy Fitch, Hugh Henry, and MAS President Teresa Carlson. The Museums Association of Saskatchewan (MAS) presented an honorary lifetime achievement award to Swift Current resident Hugh Henry, June 8. From left to right, MAS Executive Director Wendy Fitch, Hugh Henry, and MAS President Teresa Carlson. Photo courtesy of MAS

Swift Current resident Hugh Henry has received an honorary lifetime achievement award from the Museums Association of Saskatchewan (MAS) for his contribution to the museum sector in the province.


The award presentation took place in Humboldt on June 8 during the MAS 50th anniversary conference.
“We don't do it regularly,” MAS Executive Director Wendy Fitch said about the award. “It depends on who is deserving and when we do it, it's one or two people per year, and we may go over a year between awards. It isn't necessarily every year.”
Henry was one of two recipients of the award at the MAS conference. The other recipient was Jennifer Fitzpatrick, the City of Humboldt's cultural services director.
“What we're looking for is not so much what someone may have done locally in their own community, but more what someone has contributed to the entire Saskatchewan museum sector, often times through their work with the museums association over the years,” Fitch explained. “That's why Hugh was chosen, because he has done so much for the sector as a whole and he has worked with the museums association for years in various capacities.”
Henry is a former director and curator of the Swift Current Museum. His involvement with the arts and culture sector in the province started in the fall of 1985, when he became a volunteer docent at the Mendel Art Gallery.
In early 1986 he was appointed as an educator and public programs coordinator at the National Exhibition Centre in Swift Current, which later became the Art Gallery of Swift Current.
While working at the art gallery he completed the MAS Community Museums Studies Program and during a leave of absence from 1991 to 1992 he carried out a year-long internship at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature (now the Manitoba Museum).
A year later he became the director/curator of the Swift Current Museum. He worked at the Swift Current Museum for over 17 years and under his guidance the museum experienced significant growth.
During his career he was actively involved with MAS programs and initiatives. He was special interest group leader for education and public programs from 1993 to 1996, and he was a member of the conservation, collections, exhibitions and managers special interest groups.
He was involved with the Prairie Trails Museums Network since its inception and he initiated a Women of Influence exhibit project for the network, which was adopted by MAS as a Saskatchewan centennial project.
During his time as a MAS board member from 2002 to 2004 he developed a framework for a multi-level allocation of museum grant program funds, which became the foundation of the current three-tier funding system.
Henry helped MAS to develop the research component of the Community Museums Studies program, and he facilitated the museums and communities course.
He contributed in many other ways to MAS activities. He took part in advisory council meetings, helped with the development of MAS awards, and he participated in over 30 workshops, seminars and courses offered by MAS and other heritage organizations.
Henry retired in 2011, but he has continued his active involvement with the heritage sector in the province. He helped Prairie Wind and Silver Sage in Val Marie to develop new exhibits and the eco-museum concept.
He is a volunteer at the Doc's Town Heritage Village in Swift Current and a board member for 15 years, he is the president of the Southwest Saskatchewan Archaeological Society, and he has been a Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society (SHFS) board member since 2010.
He is the convenor of the SHFS historic trails program and he has coordinated two walks along historic trails in the province. The walk along the historic North West Mounted Police Trail from Wood Mountain to Fort Walsh took place in 2015, and in 2017 he organized a walk in close proximity to the historic Swift Current to Battleford Trail.
Fitch noted that Henry's consistent support for other museums in the province was a key consideration in the decision to present the honorary lifetime achievement award to him. These kind of contributions and commitment by individuals are vital to the ongoing success and survival of museums in the province.
“It's nice when someone who is from a larger museum in a city is willing for such a long period of time to share their expertise with the volunteers who work in really small museums,” she said. “He's somebody who is more than happy to help out. He doesn't like all of the attention, but he's very good and he's somebody you can always call on. The small museums in that area know they can call Hugh if they have a question and he's happy to share his knowledge.”

Read 174 times Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2018 11:24
Matthew Liebenberg

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