SUNDRE & DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The SDHS is a governing, non profit, volunteer organization made up of members in and around our community. Its fiscal operating year is August to July. The society built the Sundre & District Museum which follows the societies act of Alberta and is a registered charitable organization; operating January to December. We currently have 13 lifetime members and 95 regular members.
The Sundre & District Historical Society is a passionate group of people providing a unique destination, exhibiting our local history and its people plus showcasing our World of Wildlife Exhibit.
To preserve and celebrate "The Way We Were" by embracing our future, providing a facility for exhibits and activities centered around arts, culture, education, information and celebrations for the community, tourists, schools and other organizations.
Honesty - Teamwork - Commitment - Respect
"The Way We Were"
The Sundre & District Historical Society shall act as a governing board and financial steward of the Sundre Museum.
When the museum outgrew its space in the barn, a new building was commissioned to display the many pioneer items previously held in storage. The Niels Eskesen Reception Centre was constructed in 2007 and thus named after a cherished volunteer and board member died during its construction. It is home to many interesting artifacts ranging from pioneer clothing to medical equipment, music, photography and videography equipment, military, aboriginal displays including archaeological items, lumbering tools, rodeo culture, quilts, rugs, toys and household furniture.
In the years following the formation of the Historical Society, there have been numerous changes and additions to the Museum. Several historic buildings have been moved onto the site, including the Bergen School, built in 1908 and complete with bell and bell tower and many original desks and books; the Pioneer Cabin, also from the Bergen area and built in 1913; The Ferryman's House, which originally stood at the Garrington Ferry Crossing; and the old Red Deer Ranger Station, which has been reconstructed and refinished, utilizing many of the original logs and artifacts. There is also a fully operational blacksmith shop; a barn set up with stalls, mangers and antique equipment. We were fortunate to have a replica Trapper's Cabin and Chapel added to the village alongside a stage which plays host to many events during our busy summer months.
Many interesting displays of old agriculture equipment and machinery are located throughout the grounds of the museum. As well as a number of buggies, wagons and tractors.
On April 28, 1968, a group of people met at the Eskrick home to discuss their concerns about so many artifacts belonging to previous generations that were being destroyed or lost. It was decided to form a Society dedicated to the "preservation of historical data and artifacts of our community". The application was signed by eight persons on June 27th, 1968, and the Certificate of Incorporation was dated July 2nd, 1968, under the name of Sundre & District Historical Society.
Artifacts were gathered at Pioneer Fairs, which were held in Sundre in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1973. A great many phone calls were made requesting that people bring in their old-time articles and perhaps help with demonstrations. The cooperation was wonderful; everyone who was asked agreed enthusiastically. At these fairs people were able to watch pioneer era crafts such as spinning, carding, butter-making, rope-making, rawhide work, etc.
Today, the Sundre & District Museum serves as a tribute to those concerned residents in the late 60s who were the catalysts for the formation of the Historical Society, and to the pioneering families of the turn of the twentieth century who founded our community.