Galt Collection Research Continues
Lethbridge—The diverse collection at the Galt Museum & Archives became available to the world in December 2013 with the launch of an online database. In 2017, the database was improved and expanded with the benefit of an Alberta Museums Association (AMA) grant which enabled the Collections’ Department to bring in Elise Pundyk as term Collections Assistant.
“An object’s ability to inform us as to who we are and where we live varies on how much contextual information was collected by museum staff of the day. Recognizing that there is ‘no time like the present’, our small team conducted audits into targeted collection segments to evaluate the relevancy of artifacts to our communities and region,” explains Kevin Maclean, Collections Technician at the Galt. “Much of this work required new research into objects that have been in our stewardship for decades”
Pundyk’s main project during her AMA grant-funded term as Collections Assistant was to continue an audit of the Galt’s artifacts, focusing on research for items in the boxed textiles and accessories collection. An essential part of this research was to conduct interviews with the original donors or their family members who have a connection to these artifacts.
“My job is to search for connections, which has led me to many fascinating stories.” says Pundyk, “For example, this past month I was able to connect with Ike Lanier about his mother’s wedding dress, which has been housed in the museum for over forty years with little information about the artifact. I learned that Ike’s father, Thomas Stratton Lanier, immigrated to Canada from his birthplace in Kentucky in 1909, shortly after the Land Boom.”
“Thomas met his wife, Allene, in Kentucky just prior to his immigration. She stayed in Kentucky and they maintained a long distance engagement while Thomas was setting up a life on the farm just east of Lethbridge. Eight years later in 1917, Thomas went back to Kentucky and married Allene. The newlyweds came back to Lethbridge that same year and together they began contributing to the community’s growth through their involvement with farming and various social aspects of Lethbridge life.”
“There is something truly powerful in sharing moments with people as they remember the stories of generations past,” explained Pundyk.
Pundyk will wrap up her work in April at the conclusion of the AMA grant.