Exciting day for historical society

Rick Wilson (left) and Prince Albert Historical Society president Connie Gerwing pose for a photo at the museum on Wednesday. The $145,000 donation is the largest the society has ever received from one individual. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

It was originally intended to be a $100,000 donation, but by the end, the Prince Albert Historical Society had received the largest donation in its history.

Dignitaries were on hand at the Prince Albert Historical Museum on Wednesday for the presentation of a $145,000 check to the society, thanks to the late Lenore Andrews.

The donation was a welcome one for the museum, which is in the process of expanding operations.

Michelle Tayolor, the museum’s manager and curator, said they were overjoyed to receive the donation, which comes at an important time.

“We are at the stage now of some pretty intense growth within the museum, with the exhibits themselves and with the storage capabilities that we have,” Taylor explained. “This money will help us to develop those internally (and) to allow the public and the museum workers better access to our collections.”

The original donation was made in 1997, after Lenore Andrews’ passing, and held in trust by the City of Prince Albert until 2017.

Lenore and her husband, Dr. Herbert Andrews, were longtime Prince Albert residents. Lenore was president of the Prince Albert Women’s Liberal Association, as well as the Saskatchewan Women’s Liberal Association, running in the Liberal candidate in the 1965 federal election. Dr. Andrews practiced medicine in Prince Albert until he retired in 1978.

The donation was contingent on developing an online virtual museum exhibit in honour of both Lenore and her husband, as well as creating a display room dedicated to Dr. Lestock Reid.

Reid grew up in Prince Albert and attended Trinity Medical College in Toronto. He then returned to his hometown, where he was an acting surgeon for the RCMP, and a founding member of the Victoria Hospital.

Taylor said the museum was happy to meet those conditions, as well as three others, to receive the money, which had accumulated $45,000 worth of interest since 1997.

“It’s part of what museums do,” said Taylor, when asked about honouring the three Prince Albert residents. “We really try to focus on those people who have made a difference to the community. It’s not always as people specific as Dr. Reid’s section, but it’s definitely for important pieces of history.”

In addition to covering the financial costs of setting up the two new exhibits, the funds will also help pay for a redesign to the museum’s front entrance, which ideally will make it more accessible and welcoming to visitors. Funds will also be directed to build a new storage system, as well as updating museum computers and hardware.

Historical society president Connie Gerwing called the it “an exciting day,” and praised the generosity that made the new exhibits possible.

“It is the single largest contribution we have ever accepted from an individual,” she said in a media release. “We are grateful for the funds and for the investment made in our local history. The generosity of the contribution will allow us to preserve our history for future generations.”

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca