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Category Archives: Blogs

Dressed to Impress: The Art of Fitting Historic Textiles

Post by Carolyn Sirett, Conservator and Lee-Ann Blase, Conservation Volunteer  We have all seen those lifeless mannequins looking sad and lonely in a store’s window front, longing for the next wardrobe change of a new season.  Here at the museum we like to give our mannequins a bit more attention to detail compared to their retail cousins, what some might call, a full spa treatment! Humans are uniquely different from…

Also posted in Collections & Conservation | Comments closed

Comet Leonard visible in morning

Comet Leonard finder chart

At the edge of the solar system, there is a cloud of small, icy objects that are left over from the formation of the solar system. They’re too small to see from Earth, and much too far to visit, and yet they are like a deep=freezer full of evidence of how our solar system formed, preserved in the cold of deep space. Luckily, every so often one of these icy…

Also posted in Astronomy, Planetarium, Science Gallery & Planetarium, Space News | Comments closed

Building Blocks of the Plains: A Fieldstone Wall in the Prairies Gallery

Beginning in 2012, The Museum’s curators worked together to plan exhibits for the Bringing Our Stories Forward project (BOSF). As we travelled around the grasslands region to prepare ideas for our new Prairies Gallery, we developed a list of topics that would be essential for a representation of this region. We rapidly agreed on some things that had to go into the Gallery: prairie vegetation, the importance of wind, Indigenous…

Also posted in Geology & Paleontology | Comments closed

Who turned out the light?

With the days growing ever shorter, I find myself thinking about light and how we tend to take for granted the hard work that plants do, harnessing the energy from the sun. Photosynthesis is the beginning of most food chains on earth, the exceptions being bacteria (Archaea) that can obtain energy from inorganic chemicals like sulphur and ammonia. But since we don’t eat bacterial ooze for breakfast, this process remains…

Also posted in Botany | Comments closed

William Beal, Renaissance Man of the North

This last summer the museum installed a new permanent exhibit about William Beal in our Parklands Gallery. Beal was a settler from Minneapolis who arrived in the Swan River Valley north of Duck Mountain in 1906, and homesteaded in the Big Woody district. William Sylvester Alpheus Beal (1874-1968) is best known now as a photographer, and left behind dozens of high quality images of his fellow settlers in the region….

Also posted in History | Comments closed

The enduring diorama – Museum pronghorns still going strong after 50+ years

The Museum opened our newly renovated Prairie Gallery just last spring with spectacular new exhibits on the intriguing and engaging natural and human history of southern Manitoba. The addition of ground squirrels and their burrows, a riverbank bison bone bed, a homesteader stone house, an old school room, and hundreds of new specimens and artifacts, along with life-sized animations, prairie soundscapes, and feature videos provide exciting immersive experiences. But some…

Also posted in Zoology | Comments closed

Resilience during the Great Depression

In the 1930s the people of the Canadian prairies experienced both an economic collapse and an environmental disaster. The stock market crash came first, in 1929, followed by a decade of drought in central North America. Wheat prices plummeted, and many crops were totally destroyed. Two thirds of prairie residents would eventually require “public relief” to survive.   With farms failing or deserted, and local economies in crisis, there was simply…

Also posted in History | Comments closed

Hot to Trot: Plant Hunting in a Drought

Doing biological field work always comes with challenges. Since I began working at the Museum in 2003, the summers have been relatively wet. As a result, I’ve had to deal with muddy roads, many, many biting insects thirsty for my blood, and bootfuls of water obtained while exploring flooded wetlands. This year though, the roads were good, the biting insects non-existent, and many wetlands were so dry that I could…

Also posted in Botany | Comments closed

The Importance of Being a Flower

Like many of you, I enjoy walking through my neighbourhood and smelling the sweet fragrances of the summer flowers. Unfortunately, like many things, flowers are ephemeral. When I see a flower, I am always reminded of the Robert Herrick poem urging us to: “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying.”

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How to polish a jellyfish

Post by Debbie Thompson, Diorama and Collections Specialist  More than 440 million years ago, during the Ordovician Period, northern Manitoba was at the edge of a sea near the equator.  Among the many invertebrates that swam and lived in the salty waters were jellyfish.  Their fossilized remains are the focus of ongoing research at the Museum. After years of collecting, specific specimens were chosen to undergo a process called thin…

Also posted in Collections & Conservation | Comments closed