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Power House Museum to mark 30th anniversary during special year-end celebration on Sunday

Everyone is being invited to the Power House Museum in Kamsack on Sunday, not only to mark the end of the summer season, but also to celebrate the facility’s 30th anniversary.

Everyone is being invited to the Power House Museum in Kamsack on Sunday, not only to mark the end of the summer season, but also to celebrate the facility’s 30th anniversary.

The museum was officially opened on August 14, 1985, Lydia Cherkas, museum board president said. “We want the public and especially all former board members to come out to help us celebrate the anniversary.”

During the day, following a pancake-and-sausages breakfast, a special anniversary cake, along with other treats, will be served. A history of the facility will be discussed and at least two groups will be entertaining: Rick Chernoff and Friends and the Polka Pals.

“We’ll be displaying one of the original posters announcing the opening of the museum and we’re working on a photo album of former board members,” Cherkas said.

At the former Kamsack power plant on August 14, 1985 to mark the official opening of the museum, Kamsack Mayor Arnold Becker cut a ribbon held by Mike Nadane and John Andrychuk, who were charter members of the Kamsack and District Historical Society, whose objective had been the creation of the museum.

The opening was held more than seven years after the first concrete proposals for a museum at Kamsack were made. By the time of the opening, the power plant had been renovated and restored and loaded with artifacts.

Speaking at the ceremony along with Becker were: Lorne Mclaren of Yorkton, the provincial minister of labour; Al Taylor of Regina, on behalf of the federal government, and Norman Lusney, Pelly MLA. Russell Murdock of Kamsack was the master of ceremonies.

Following the opening ceremony, guests, who had been encouraged to wear costumes typical of the beginning of the 20th Century, toured the museum and later were served lunch at the Riverside Golf Clubhouse, located nearby.

In a story written in the Kamsack Times issued the day after the opening, Mabel Buceuk, who had been serving as the secretary of the historical society, said that the museum was “absolutely filled” with artifacts. She had estimated there to have been 500 catalogued items on display, and said that the museum’s most recent acquisitions had been donated that very day.

Among other recent donations were a large number of photographs of the community’s past which were donated by Kay Horocholyn, who had a photography business in Kamsack.

Buceuk said that many people were supporting the museum, including the Yurkiw family which donated blacksmith tools and cash, and the family of the late Tom Hovorka, which had donated a collection of items.

Buceuk recognized the ideas of Lorne Poole, the volunteer labour of Alex Shostal, the dedication of John Andrychuk, the historical society president and “the hundreds of others who helped.”

As the museum was becoming a reality, more and more people came forward with offers of assistance, she had said. “I only hope that more people will be willing to assist us from now on with ideas to keep the museum open.

“We have made a beginning,” she said. “We need help to carry on because there are a million things to be done and we can’t do them all ourselves.”

Although there had been discussions regarding the desirability of a museum for Kamsack for several years, it was not until the autumn of 1978 that a real beginning was made. At that time, a public meeting was called by Jim Ellis, Kamsack’s recreation director, with a view to form an historical society for Kamsack. The meeting resulted in the formation of the Kamsack and District Historical Society.

The general philosophy and purpose of the society was stated as “building the common purpose of retaining and developing a broader idea bequeathed to us by early settlers in a non-profit, non-sectarian, non-political society.”

In order to do that, the general function of the society was “to promote and develop those projects which are in keeping with the general aims of the society.”

Five functions of the society were stated to be: to acquire, preserve, research and study representative artifacts which portray the local heritage and its contribution to Canada; to research, study, preserve and publicize the history of the district in oral, pictorial and written form; to identify and suitably mark historical sites within the district; to restore and preserve any historical building or site wherever deemed necessary and possible, and to create an awareness of the philosophy and functions of the society.

Members of the first board of directors included: Harry Shukin, president; John Moriarty, vice-president, and directors: Tom Hovorka, Mabel Buceuk, Rosella Diduck, Edith Kinnear, Mike Nadane, Arnold Becker, Ethel Parkinson and John Chepil.

At first things advanced very slowly, Buceuk had told the Times. A great deal of the work that had been done, although it was absolutely essential, was not visible to the general public. This included hours spent preparing a statement of philosophy and writing bylaws as well as registering the group, having it declared a non-profit society and “all the 1,001 bits of paper work required to get an organization of this type functioning.”

In those early years, the executive committee had tried to work on all five specific functions of the society. Efforts were made to try to find a suitable building to house the artifacts members were beginning to collect. Soon, a request for a history room in the new library had been made. The request bore fruit, thanks to the Town of Kamsack and the Celebrate ’80 committee.

John Moriarty, a former director had put in a good deal of research in locating the many early fur trading establishments along the Assiniboine River as well as other historical sites in the area.

By 1982, there was more optimism regarding a museum, Buceuk had said. The old power house had been offered for a museum, but the group had had access to only a small part of it and the only workers available had been some Katimavik volunteers.

However, the heritage sites section of the provincial department of culture and youth had been set up and work had been initiated in the designating of the town’s old water tower and power house as heritage sites.

And then there was a change in leadership of the society. The new executive committee included: Harry Shukin, past president; John Andrychuk, president and Mike Nadane vice-president;. Directors were Lil Hovorka, Ethel Parkinson, Kay Horocholyn, Johanne Chepil, Edith Kinnear, Rosella Diduck, Mabel Buceuk and Jenny Andrychuk. Ruth Rygiel and John Chepil soon joined.

After the power plant was designated as a historical site, the society was able to obtain a grant of $18,000 matched by the Town of Kamsack for the power plant restoration.

Those funds were earmarked for the restoration of the building. In order to set up the museum, the society had to rely on winter works programs, summer student employment programs, volunteer labour, a New Horizons grant and donations of cash and artifacts.

The assistance of the town was invaluable, Buceuk had said. “We received grants of money, valuable assistance by way of advice, bookkeeping skills, photocopying and town work crews. She made special mention of Russell Murdock, a former town administrator and Maureen Bourett, who had provided bookkeeping services.

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