Morinville museum achieves provincial recognition

Musée Morinville Museum Operations Attendant Donna Garrett (left) and Morinville Historical and Cultural Society President Shiela Houle (right) hold the new sign that designates the local museum as one recognized by the Alberta Museums Association.

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Nestled in the back of St. Jean Baptiste Park is the Musée Morinville Museum, home to the community’s rich cultural heritage and history. Museum staff are pretty excited these days, but it’s not necessarily about any new exhibits coming to the museum; it’s because the museum has just received some important provincial recognition.

“We have achieved recognized museum status, so that’s something that the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society and the museum staff are very proud of,” said Musée Morinville Museum operations attendant Donna Garrett.

Garrett said the museum recently submitted evidence to the Alberta Museums Association (AMA) that it met the requirements to become a recognized museum. That information, a collection of detailed forms, historical research and proof that the museum was qualified to archive, care for and properly display historical artefacts, went before a panel of three AMA members.

“They determined that we met all the criteria to become a recognized museum,” Garrett said, adding the application process was a lot of work but well worth the effort. “Being part of the recognized museum program for the Alberta Museums Association does have a standard that they require, so you know that if we are a recognized museum that we do have certain standards.”

Garrett explained those standards include acquiring, researching and conserving historical artefacts and running historical programs for schools and other groups.

But now that the recognized status has been achieved, the Musée Morinville Museum will receive a number of perks that will help put Morinville further on the map, figuratively and literally. Garrett said the museum will be listed on the AMA’s website. Additionally, Garrett said the museum will be eligible for more travelling exhibits as well as other AMA benefits, including museum courses and the assistance of AMA experts.

Morinville Historical and Cultural Society President Shiela Houle is also pleased with the news about the museum’s status. Houle said the museum first began the process of becoming recognized soon after moving to the former convent.

“It’s a very long process,” she said. “Periodically we sent in segments of our research and they would tell us if it was any good or whether we needed to add more to it. It was an ongoing process since we moved in here in 2009.”

Deadline for the museum’s submissions was Jan. 15 and the AMA issued their decision Feb. 7.

“It’s a very prestigious recognition because all the museums are not able to achieve this status,” Houle said. “For us to do that the first time out – it’s really something.”

The Musée Morinville Museum will be hosting a travelling exhibit called Chop Suey on the Prairies: a reflection on Chinese Restaurants. The exhibit is set to open next week.

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