Vermilion Heritage Museum
The Vermilion Heritage Museum was thrilled to open for another season on May 22. This year several new displays are in order as they help celebrate a selection of 100th Anniversaries in Vermilion including the Alberta Teacher’s Association, 100 years since the Spanish Flu, the 1918 Vermilion Fire, the Vermilion Volunteer Fire Department, and the Vermilion Legion. According to volunteer and president of the Board of Directors, Jean Murie, the Alberta Teacher’s Association was once called the Alberta Teacher’s Alliance. The display features ‘then and now’ items including some old school rules. Differences and similarities are evident as life without Google is examined, the use of chalkboards versus laptops, and no longer teaching knitting. “Some things haven’t gone by the wayside including Math instruments, pens, and calculators,” said Murie. Murie found out that the Spanish Flu should have been called the Kansas Flu as during WWI a Kansas regiment got sick with most members dying. The ones that didn’t went on to Europe and when everyone in Spain got sick, they called it the Spanish Flu. “We don’t want another pandemic like that, and are hoping to educate people on hand washing and being clean,” said Murie. The Vermilion Health Unit supplied current information, and a poster from 1918 - 1919 shows how there was no vaccine at the time, so people treated the symptoms of fever or pain. Some of the remedies were recognizable, and some such as poultice were perhaps unknown to younger generations.
The Lakeland College Emergency Training Centre donated a ladder truck and pump truck that will be located outside the museum throughout the summer in recognition of the 100th Anniversaries of the 1918 Fire, and the Vermilion Volunteer Fire Department. According to Murie, the department was in existence prior to the fire, but it wasn’t very large and didn’t have a pumper truck until after. “Back then the roads were narrow and it would have taken a while for Vegreville, Innisfree, Mannville, and Lloydminster brigades to come. It looks like a bomb went off in some of the photos. Notice the open cab on the ladder truck; can you imagine trying to drive that thing in the winter?” questioned Murie. There is also a fire pail, which is essentially a chop pail that had been purposely rounded at the bottom. The reason being that in those days most people had a milk cow, and milk pails were hard to come by; but if the bottoms were rounded, they wouldn’t be stolen for milk pails. The museum has a multitude of war memorabilia along with a more recent Snelgrove display in honour of the Vermilion Legion’s 100th Anniversary. With lots to celebrate, all of the artifacts found inside the museum are interesting and worth checking out. The Vermilion Heritage Museum will be hosting movie nights throughout the summer including an old classic outside if weather permits, and a sleepover Night at the Museum on June 1. They are also looking forward to hosting two school tours including VES and Marwayne. “We rely solely on donations and volunteers. Families or community members interested in volunteering at the museum are encouraged to call as there are lots of interesting things and a park just outside the door,” said Murie. For more information you can search Vermilion Museum on Facebook or call (780) 853-6211.