Melfort Museum Coffee and Conversation to celebrate Black History Month

Photo courtesy Melfort Museum website

The Melfort and District Museum is bringing back Coffee and Conversation, this time to celebrate Black History Month.

The event is at the Kerry Vickar Centre in the CJVR Performing Arts Theatre on Wednesday, Feb, 9 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event has free admission and is open to the public.

Curator Gailmarie Anderson said the event is an important one because of Dr. A.S. Shadd, one of Saskatchewan’s earliest African-Canadian residents, who played an important role in Melfort’s history.

It’s going to be a very educational program for people because we don’t know a lot about Black African Canadians,” Anderson explained. “I’m pretty excited about it. It’s from the past to the present.”

Anderson said they’ve been working with the Western Development Museum (WDM) and the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum to produce a virtual exhibit about Dr. Shadd. The exhibit goes online from the WDM on Feb. 2.

Researcher Garry Forsythe will make a presentation about Shadd’s life. There will also be a presentation from Darlene Lafayette Hunter of the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum.

She is going to talk a little bit about why they set it up and how it works and what’s happening with that because there is quite a few African Canadians here now,” Anderson explained.

They have also invited some members of the African diaspora in Melfort to speak about the modern experience.

We are going to have some local people tell stories—our local population of African ancestry people living in Melfort,” Anderson explained. “It’s mostly doctors, but some others. It will be a story each from somebody from Nigeria, from South Africa and from Zambia to kind of bring us up to date.”

Anderson said she thinks people will be curious to learn more about Melfort’s African Canadian population.

She said they used the Kerry Vickar Centre primarily because it gave more room to properly space everyone out and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We were going to use the Historic Post Office but with COVID things were uncertain,” she explained. “There is no room here at the Museum and we are expecting a good crowd, so we moved it to the Kerry Vickar Centre in the theatre.”

Anderson added that the event will open up the discussion of history in Melfort.

We have to start to be more inclusive because some of them have been here for 20, 30 years and their history has to be reflected too,” Anderson said.

The event is presented by the Museum and ‘WeCollaborate”. For more information contact the museum a 306-752-5870.