Guests travel through time at Prairie Pioneer Museum

Kevin Chambers tries his hand at writing with a quill pen while Christel Keiser provides instructions at the Prairie Pioneer Museum in Craik on July 9. Chambers was visiting from Simcoe, Ont., with other relatives; his mother, Maurie Mayer, is the niece of John Ackland of Craik.

By Joel van der Veen

CRAIK — Dip the pen into the inkwell, let the excess ink run off, and don’t press too hard.

As guests made their way through the schoolroom at the Prairie Pioneer Museum, Christel Keiser invited them to try writing their name with a quill pen, offering gentle instructions to each one.

It’s a delicate art, and some mastered it more quickly than others.

It was all part of a trip through time for visitors on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The Craik museum hosted a Fun Day on July 9, featuring a barbecue lunch, entertainment, tours, special displays and raffle prizes.

Guests were invited to make their way through the six buildings that make up the museum, checking out hundreds of artifacts that span more than a century of Prairie farm and town life.

A special display featured mourning items from the collection of Nancy Spencer, including lace and other pieces made from human hair, some dating as far back as the U.S. Civil War.

Spencer said she began collecting these items around 1970. After her grandmother died, she inherited a ring made with hair, and the collection has continued from there.

“I just find all this very fascinating,” she said. “I think it’s something people should remember.”

The items on display included beadwork made by Belgian nuns. Other items came from Switzerland, France and the U.S.

Spencer explained to guests how each of the items were used to commemorate and honour the dead — such as a clock with lace draped over it, with the pendulum stopped to mark the time of death.

Sweet Pea the Clown, visiting from Moose Jaw, made balloon animals for the kids in attendance.

Hamburgers and hot dogs were served, and donated prizes were raffled off.

Pauline Dixon, who serves as secretary on the museum board, said a total of 123 burgers were sold. She estimated that about 130 people attended altogether.

“It wasn’t as many as usual,” she said, adding that some guests stopped by to grab a hamburger or buy raffle tickets, but didn’t stay around. “It was just too hot.”

For the full story, please see the July 17 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

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