Historical Society exhibit receives recognition with RCE Award

Prince Albert Historical Society photo 'The Gathering Place' received recognition at the 14th Annual RCE Awards - Awards for Achievement in Education for Sustainable Development.

The Prince Albert Historical Society can add the title “award-winning” to one of their newest exhibits, and not just for its historical content.

Kistapinanihk/Omaniciye Makoca ‘The Gathering Place’ received recognition at the 14th Annual RCE Awards – Awards for Achievement in Education for Sustainable Development, held in Regina on May 4.

Michelle Taylor, Manager and Curator at the Prince Albert Historical Society, accepted the award on the museum’s behalf. She said the exhibit fit their development goals by creating informal educational opportunities and promoting inclusive communities in a sustainable way.

“The Gathering Place is really the early history of Prince Albert, so pre-contact to about 1904—05,” Taylor said. “It is focusing on the Indigenous history of Prince Albert and their contributions in making the city what it is today.”

The museum was one of 25 projects recognized for their efforts to further the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals.

Taylor said they were surprised by the recognition. They chose to apply for the award after being told about it by a First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) professor.

“It was a really different way of thinking about our exhibit in a sustainable development way rather than just the historical presentation,” she explained.

“We got to thinking and what their sustainable development principles. One of those is on education.”

Taylor said they created the exhibit to teach aspects of Indigenous history that are not necessarily taught in schools.

“What we are trying to focus on in that display is that each of the Indigenous groups from around Prince Albert traveled to Prince Albert, traded in Prince Albert, had a lot of activities in Prince Albert,” she explained. “The entire area was a focus of gathering, and so we are really trying to promote that and be that gathering place once more.”

The museum developed the display with the assistance of knowledge keepers. Taylor said the knowledge keepers worked on the project for the last four years, and heavily influenced what direction it would take.

The museum was also able to have an Indigenous Researcher work on the project thanks to a grant from the National Indian Brotherhood Trust Fund.

We got a lot of work done in the last year,” Taylor said.

The Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina hosted the awards ceremony. Dr. Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair in Re-Orienting Education Toward Sustainability at York University, was the keynote speaker.

The Indigenous History Exhibition can be viewed at the Historical Museum on River Street in Prince Albert. The museum’s summer hours are starting May 24, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

“We are open and we still have a few more things to do in that display room. We are aiming to have it completely done by June 21,” Taylor said.