Exploring Morinville’s Past: Students Immerse Themselves in Local History at Musée Morinville Museum

Above: Musée Morinville Museum Attendant Donna Garrett talks to École Notre Dame Elementary School Grade 1 students about Morinville and area history during a class visit on Wednesday, June 28. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

École Notre Dame Elementary School Grade 1 student Gemma Craib tries out a rotary phone during a school visit to the Musée Morinville Museum on the last day of school, June 28. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

Two classes of École Notre Dame Elementary School Grade 1 students visited the Musee Morinville Museum on Wednesday, June 28, to step back in time to learn about the founding of Morinville and the Indigenous peoples who were here before French and German settlers came to the area in the late 1800s.

Musée Morinville Museum Attendant Donna Garrett said she sees about six to eight classes visit yearly.

Attending local community museums as part of school classes offers value to students’ educational experiences. These excursions allow students to expand their knowledge beyond the confines of textbooks and classrooms, enabling them to engage with tangible artifacts and immersive exhibits. On the June 28 visit, students enjoyed trying a rotary-dial phone, something that fell out of fashion long before they were born.

Students and visitors can view exhibits highlighting the region’s early settlers and pioneers to displays featuring indigenous culture and artifacts. The Musée Morinville Museum offers a range of historical information, including the community’s military connections and even local art.

“They learn about what it was like to be a settler, a pioneer,” Garrett explained, noting that the Museum’s old-fashioned school room is usually a hit with the younger grades. “But they are interested to learn that when the pioneers came, and the settlers arrived, there were no stores. So they had to make their own clothes. We talk about how they spun the spinning wheel and used that to make yarn for toques and mitts and things.”

École Notre Dame Grade 1 teacher Colleen Van Brabant said as part of the Grade 1 curriculum, students study communities in the past and how the past affects the present. “We thought this [visit] would be a wonderful way to end the school year and see exactly how Morinville’s past influences the way the kids live today.”

One of the Museum’s displays in partnership with Alexander First Nation is an indigenous display, allowing students to view the area’s First Nation culture and history.

“We talk about how they lived and talked about the teepees and how they could be disassembled and reassembled if the tribe wanted to move to a different area,” Garrett explained.

The Musée Morinville Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon until 5 p.m. The Museum is located in the basement of the Notre Dame Apartments, nestled at the back of St. Jean Baptist Park on 100 Avenue.


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