Why did you come to Lethbridge?

immigration picture.jpg

A teacher gave me a tambourine as a gift this week. This has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of my blog but I just couldn't resist sharing.

I was at the Teachers' Convention yesterday and today. A great opportunity to meet and talk with teachers and to catch up with some people I don't see very often. Teachers, needless to say, are among my favourite people (historians being another group I find to be universally fabulous people). And kids, too, of course. Probably a good thing, then, that I'm a teacher who works in a history museum.

I gave a presentation on Thursday afternoon on Critical Thinking. I chose to lead the group through a case study on immigration in the early 20th century.

I have been working/researching around immigration and we have a few projects going around this subject.

A few of us here at the museum (Greg, Lori and myself) will soon be working with a class of students on a project where each student picks an ethnic/cultural group and then researches that group's experience of moving to Lethbridge in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As well, one of our volunteers has been working on putting together an Archives Kit of documents, photographs and material related to immigration. This is designed to tie in with the grade 5 curriculum and will be available for teachers from across southern Alberta to use with their students.

And immigration is one of the topics I'm researching for the Lethbridge 1906-1913 exhibit.

Through this, I have come across a lot of incredible stories and information. It is fascinating to see why people came to Lethbridge and what their experiences were. Of course, the experiences differed depending on their age, gender and ethnic background.

I personally love the stories of why people came here that aren't generally well-known. For example, most people know that Nicholas Sheran came to the area looking for gold and instead started the coal mine and operated the ferry across the river. But how many know that his sister Marcella came here because her brother convinced her to leave New York City to come here and keep house for him? How many of you would have traveled from New York City to the prairies of southern Alberta in 1874 because your brother was lonely? Within a year or two of arriving, Marcella married Joseph McFarland of Fort Macleod.

If your family has an interesting story of coming to southern Alberta, I would love to hear it.