Miniota’s treasure of history, of remembrance

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By Anne Davison
A fly on the wall would probably hear comments like “Wow!” Do you remember…’ and ‘My grandfather told me about…’ and ‘I didn’t know that!’ when visitors come to the Municipal Museum of Miniota. The museum is open to the public again after being suspended due to health restrictions for a few years.
The Miniota Museum is run by a group of elders who volunteer their time. It is a treasure trove for history buffs and the elderly. The objects displayed here are reminiscent of days gone by and the people who broke new ground.
For example, on the second floor you can find an entire miniature of the historic village of Miniota.
Have you ever heard of Dr. Chalmers and Granny Taylor? Did you know that Crandall had a ball team in uniform?
The museum treasurer, Kay Lelond, is involved in scheduling appointments and tours. She finds that there is also a strong interest among children, a fascination for objects that bear the imprint of past generations.
“My grandkids love going to the museum,” says Lelond, adding, “And day camp comes every summer. »
During the school year, teachers bring lessons, often to supplement the pioneering themes they teach.
This summer, she says, there have also been tours with people passing through Highway 83.
Since 2012 the museum has been archiving a list of obituaries from the municipality, they often help families looking for information about their ancestors. Recently they helped Thos. Copland’s, Wm. The families of Aylward, Anders and Adelena Lawson and Charles W. Thomson in their search.
The Miniota Museum has been contacted by other museums trying to trace the history of people, places and things – most recently from each end of Canada – from New Brunswick and British Columbia
Volunteers, primarily the museum’s board of trustees, worked a total of 168 hours last year and took advantage of the mandatory closure to carry out maintenance and renovations, such as painting, cleaning and paving.
The current Board is made up of President Kevin Lelond, Secretary Darcy Rollo, Treasurer Kay Lelond, Board Members Laurie Copet, Bill Armitage, Barry Cornish and Marlene Bryant.
Kay explains, “We hire a caretaker to mow the grass, but all other work is done by volunteers. »
In order to write this tale, the Empire-Advance was lucky enough to stop by the museum on a weekday and find Bill Armitage tidying up the land in front of the mower. He agreed to show us inside the house.
A newly laid brick sidewalk led to a new stone patio at the entrance and a tether stone, a strange large rock with a groove, perfectly suited for tethering your steed-tether style.
This museum was established in 1976 in the former municipal office. As the collection grew, more space was needed, and the Watts’ former home was purchased. The building needed repairs and renovations. Through hard work, tremendous community support, and a Community Places grant, the museum opened in its new home on July 1, 1993.
Since then, new windows have been installed in the main building. Insulation has been added and the heating and plumbing have been upgraded. Other buildings have been modernized to serve as offices and to house agricultural exhibits.
The history of each donated piece is digitally cataloged, allowing staff to research the collection.
Funding for the museum includes grants from the Rural Municipality of Prairieview and Manitoba Museums, as well as Miniota-Arrow River’s Donor’s Choice and individual donations. As much of this depends on the support of volunteers, the museum’s board says: “We always welcome anyone who can help us with our regular upkeep or help us organize tours.
Lelond noticed a renewed interest in the community museum. She says, “I think COVID has maybe made people a little more aware of its value.”
Visitors can make an appointment for a viewing (204-567-3890) or plan to come on a Saturday afternoon between 2 and 4 p.m.


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