Fort Whoop-Up Cannon Belongs to the Citizens of Lethbridge
May 18th is International Museum Day. It is a day to celebrate the preservation and sharing of objects and their stories. The volunteers and staff of the Galt are committed to this public service at the museum and now, at Fort Whoop-up. A key artifact in the telling of the Fort Whoop-Up story is the Three-Pounder Field Gun, also known as the Fort Cannon. The cannon is the most documented artifact connected to Lethbridge’s history.
The cannon was brought to Fort Whoop-Up country by whiskey traders and has resided as a part of Lethbridge’s history and heritage for close to 146 years. From the 1870s to 1892 the cannon was located at the original Fort Whoop-Up. From 1892 to 1929 it belong to Lethbridge resident John D. Higinbotham. In 1929 Higinbotham entrusted care of the cannon to the City of Lethbridge and the cannon it took its place in Galt Gardens.
The City of Lethbridge placed the artillery piece in the Sir Alexander Galt Museum’s collection in 1973. Where it was housed until the Fort Whoop Society requested its move to the Fort Whoop-Up replica in Indian Battle Park. In June 1997 a letter to the Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Society noted “The Fort Whoop-Up Field Gun represents a unique artifact, significant in the interpretation of [the] facility’s mandate, as well as the origins of the present day community of Lethbridge. As a material resource, its historic value is priceless.” After much deliberation, ownership of the Fort Field Gun was transferred from the Galt to Fort Whoop-Up where its story continued to be told and could be enjoyed by citizens and visitors alike.
The cannon brings Lethbridge a deep connection to our citizens’ sense of place. The Galt Museum & Archives requested the return of only one artifact from the previous operators of the Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Centre: the Three-Pounder fort cannon. This cannon is not relevant to other towns or cities. We encourage the society to reconsider and return the cannon to the City collection with the Galt Museum & Archives/Fort Whoop-up.
We will open the fort this summer season and are pleased to preserve and share this story. Please, visit https://fort.galtmuseum.com for up to date information.