Morinville Museum to display Mountain Man exhibit in March

by Stephen Dafoe

The next travelling Alberta Foundation for the Arts exhibit to hit the Musée Morinville Museum is Mountain Man, a display of 13 of panoramas of the trails along the continental divide as well as a few other pieces.

The works are by Frederick Herbert Riggall who lived from 1884 to 1959.

Riggal suffered a gunshot wound to his thigh in 1904. As he was recovering from the wound, he came across an image of a mountain ram standing on a cliff in the Rockies. It would be an image that would change his life and form the basis of the travelling exhibit.

“I want to see what the ram sees,” Riggal wrote in his diary. “I’ve decided on Canada.”

Riggal arrived in Calgary from England in March of 1904, 114 years before his work would wind up in the Morinville Museum.

Describing the mountains as a Canadian Switzerland, Riggall made Canada his home, establishing a homestead near the Kootenai Lakes and setting up a mountain guide and pack train business by 1910, six years after his first arrival.

It is Riggall’s practice of keeping a camera with him on the mountain outings that allowed him to capture hundreds of images, including those included the 13 panoramas in Mountain Man as well as three wildflower images Riggal shot close-up and hand-tinted.

Museum Attendant Donna Garrett said the upcoming exhibit captures the pioneer spirit. “It is interesting to see how people immigrated into Alberta,” Garrett said. “I think his love of nature is going to show through in his artwork.”

The display runs from Mar. 1 to 31 at the museum. The Musée Morinville Museum is open Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

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