The Winning the Prairie Gamble exhibit came full circle on July 11 with the opening of the Let's Have Fun! display at the Western Development Museum. The celebration marks the end of years of construction on the centennial exhibit.
Guests enjoyed speeches from those involved in the project, butter and ice cream making demonstrations, crafts and games. Outdoor activities were cancelled due to heavy rain.
"It is really a wonderful sense of accomplishment," said museum curator Ruth Bitner of the completion. The museum offers people a chance to learn about little-known achievements in the province, she explained.
"I think we always think, 'great things come from other places' but great things come from here," she said.
Funds from Saskatchewan Blue Cross Push2Play campaign helped bring the project to fruition. Push2Play sponsored the Let's Have Fun! exhibit with the goal of encouraging visitors to participate in physical activity.
"We are part of the story of survival that shapes Saskatchewan today," remarked Lindsay Arnott, marketing assistant for the Blue Cross.
As a result, the exhibit is "a look at how we relax and enjoy" once work is done, said Bitner.
The narrow focus helped Bitner research and discover items that represent sports and culture in the province dating back to the early 1900s. As one might expect, a large portion of the display items are devoted to winter sports such as hockey and curling, Saskatchewan's provincial sport.
More surprising is the model quinzee that children guests can crawl through. Although excited about the project, "you probably won't see me crawling through the snow fort," said Jack Hay, chairman of the WDM board of directors.
Kevin Doherty, provincial minister of parks, culture and sport, acknowledged the government's financial role in "preserving and communicating the story of Saskatchewan" in Western Development Museums. While the government did not earmark specific funds for the project, the WDM board devoted government funds from their operating budget to create the Winning the Prairie Gamble exhibit.
In recent months the government was criticized for failing to increase the operating grant to the province's four WDMs in this year's budget.
In addition to the completion of the Let's Have Fun! exhibit, recent upgrades at the museum include the creation of the Immigration Room and an interactive provincial map in the Discovery Room. The Immigration Room displays three life-like scenarios of people traveling to Canada in different ways.
People can take a peek at the completed exhibit Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Western Development Museum.