New Home for Meat Market Sign
Lethbridge—On November 22, 2018, the Alberta Meat Market’s neon sign, which had been in place for over half a century, was carefully removed from the cinderblock exterior of its building. The sign, having been donated to the Galt Museum & Archives, was loaded onto a flatbed truck and transported to the Galt. The sign is one of only a handful of original neon signs erected in the 1950s to 1970s around downtown Lethbridge that was still in place in late 2018.
“When the sign came down from the Alberta Meat Market building we heard from many people in the community who wanted to see it restored,” says Galt Curator Aimee Benoit.
Among those especially interested in seeing the neon sign shine again were Pat and Hollie Carroll. “I am a huge fan of neon in general.” says Pat, “After having read the article in the paper regarding the donation of the sign to the Galt, I wanted to see if there was a way to get it lit and working as a memory of neon in Lethbridge.”
“The Galt is grateful to the Carrolls for this gift to the museum, the community and our future generations.” says the Galt’s CEO/Executive Director Susan Burrows-Johnson, “Their generous donation covered the cost of the restoration of the sign.”
The sign had not been operational in some time; most of the neon tubes were broken or loose. MacLean and Benoit consulted with Gimmy Abrioti from LA Neon and determined that functionality could be restored to the sign before mounting it in the permanent exhibit at the Galt Museum & Archives.
“There are relatively few people left who work with neon. We were fortunate to have the expertise here locally to do that, through LA Neon.” says Benoit, “We have kept all of the original wood and elements to preserve more than 60 years of use, but the glass and electrical components have been repaired so that the sign is functioning again.”
The preservation and sharing of this artifact is possible,” says Burrows-Johnson, “because of the gracious donations of the sign by Chris Sirias, the valuable expertise of Gimmy Abriotti from LA Neon, the assistance with costs from Pat and Hollie Carroll and the work of Galt staff and City staff—we thank them all.”