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Revealing the stories of fire and winter storms, of dreams, ship builders, medical missionaries and more, ten trunks, packed with intriguing, surprising, heart-rending pieces of Interlake heritage are travelling throughout the province.
This exhibit, unique in Canada, has arrived at the Manitoba Museum. Unlocked: Stories of the Interlake is the result of collaboration among ten Interlake museums. It began with a conversation about publicizing the many wonderful museums in the region. A plan came together when four women put their collective experience to work and came up with the idea of a travelling exhibit to showcase important, but little-known, stories about the Interlake. As the idea developed, six more museums decided to take part.
Custom-built trunks house the exhibit, protect the artifacts, and project an antique ambiance. There are ten stories, one from each of the participating museums, but only nine trunks. The tenth display is housed in an antique travelling writing desk. The ten stories reveal facets of life in the Interlake between the pioneer days and the mid-1930s. Among the stories are the dreams of a young girl to be the first woman bus driver in Canada, details of the last bank robbery carried out on horseback, and look at a family of renowned shipbuilders responsible for vessels that travelled the Red and Assiniboine rivers, including the Paddlewheel Queen and the River Rouge.
The goal of the organizers of the exhibit was to bring people into the region to see the many museums and heritage buildings it has to offer and to educate the locals about their own rich history and heritage. In its efforts, Unlocked: Stories of the Interlake won the 2014 Award of Distinction from the Association of Manitoba Museums and the 2015 Interlake Tourism Association Partnership Award, and was a finalist for the 2015 Travel Manitoba Partnership Award.
The participating museums and heritage centres are the Arborg and District Multicultural Heritage Village, Teulon and District Museum, the New Iceland Heritage Museum, Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, Stonewall Quarry Park Heritage Arts Centre, the Ashern Museum, the Eriksdale Museum Heritage Site, Woodlands Pioneer Museum, the Marine Museum of Manitoba and the St Andrews Heritage Centre.