The Fort Pelly-Livingstone Museum, which had been destroyed by fire in 2015, will reopen this year in the former detachment building of the Pelly RCMP.
Expressing gratitude to community volunteers and funders Yvonne Hotzak, museum president said on May 19 that it had been “an amazing community effort” that came together to raise the funds to purchase the new building and to give life to the community’s goal of celebrating its historic past.
“An important added focus for the new Museum will be the significant contributions of indigenous peoples in our history,” said Hotzak. “Giving voice to their stories of the past will be an exciting challenge and an opportunity for our area’s huge First Nation population who currently participate and lead in many village organizations and activities.”
Officials described the museum’s new quarters as a happy coincidence reflecting the relationship of the North West Mounted Police to the RCMP, said a release from the museum board. Board members hope to work with RCMP related organizations and the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina to celebrate important achievements of both forces that provided security in colonial and early Canada.
“There are some concerns about the building’s age and the smaller display area,” said Don Budz, a museum vice-president. “The former detachment depot was built to RCMP standards. Overall, it’s in fine condition and only minor renovations are needed.
“Although we have less room for displays, utilizing today’s digital technology and rotating exhibits throughout the year should build our capacity and bolster attendance.”
Pelly Mayor Sharon Nelson added her thanks to the current Museum board and the many volunteers who have contributed to the Museum over its 40-year history.
“It’s no surprise when rural Saskatchewan folks step up enthusiastically to carry on the work of past generations” she said.
The Fort Pelly-Livingstone Museumboard is grateful for the many donations received from across the province to begin to replace the thousands lost in the fire, the release said. The Museum remains in need of artifacts related to the fur trade, the North West Mounted Police, early governance of the NWT and Canada and stories and artifacts related to the rich First Nations history in this area.
Fort Pelly and Fort Livingstone are National Historic Sites, places of “profound importance to Canadian history” according to Parks Canada. Fort Livingstone was the first capital of the North West Territories and also the controversial first post built specifically for the North-West Mounted police. Fort Pelly was a vibrant Hudson Bay Company outpost that witnessed 50 years of colonial history and interrelationships with area First Nations people.
Persons wishing additional information are asked to contact Allan Reine at Pelly.