Western Development Museum celebrates 75th anniversary in Saskatchewan

Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Terri Jackson shows Oakley Chan how to spin wool.

It was a celebration 75 years in the making for Saskatchewan’s Western Development Museum.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix Staff

It was a celebration three-quarters of a century in the making for Saskatchewan’s Western Development Museum.

On Tuesday, the WDM opened its doors — at a cost of 75 cents admission — to celebrate and honour its 75th anniversary. From spinning wools to toy trains, making rope to milking cows, the past met the present in a variety of displays at Saskatoon’s museum.

The WDM was established on April 2, 1949, when the Western Development Museum Act was passed in the legislature.

According to the organization, the WDM’s mandate “is to collect, preserve, and exhibit objects of historical value and importance connected with the economic and cultural development of western Canada and to stimulate interest” in western Canadian history.

“The WDM has experienced many changes over the last 75 years, all of which build upon our founders’ vision of a museum network focused on our economic and cultural histories,” Western Development Museum CEO Joan Kanigan said.

“What has not changed is our commitment to serving the people of Saskatchewan and sharing the unique and diverse stories of the people who call Saskatchewan home.”

As part of the celebrations and in recognition of the anniversary, the provincial government proclaimed Tuesday Western Development Museum Day in the province.

There are four WDM facilities in the province: Saskatoon, North Battleford, Yorkton and Moose Jaw. Each location had anniversary-themed celebrations and activities.

“Whether it is marvelling at the power of massive steam engines, standing in the shadow of an iconic prairie grain elevator or learning about early transportation on the prairies, the Western Development Museum is home to more than 75,000 artifacts, each with a unique and interesting Saskatchewan story,” Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport Laura Ross said in a statement.

WDM board chair Orlanda Drebit said the WDM has been “connecting people with Saskatchewan’s rich heritage” for three-quarters of a century.

“Each WDM location offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and connect with our shared histories,” Drebit added.

Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The WDM celebrates its 75th anniversary on April 2, 2024.