When you think about Saskatchewan, a history of baseball probably doesn't spring to mind.
That's what Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame Museum President Jane Shury would like to change. The museum had its annual Christmas open house Tuesday, Dec. 13 to give the public a chance to discover a piece of sports history.
"It's a way to get [the public] here to see what we have in the Battlefords," said Shury. "They don't realize."
The museum was first organized in 1983 and has been operating from its current location at 292 - 22nd St. West in Battleford since 2002. Displayed across its walls are memorabilia including uniforms, bats, baseballs and gloves from multiple eras in Saskatchewan baseball history. Since 1985 the museum has held an annual induction to its hall of hame. According to Shury, she has spent the last few months preparing for 2017's induction, which is held in August each year.
When visitors do come to the museum, there's one question in particular at the top of their minds, and Shury is happy to answer.
"We have people come in from other countries and all over and say 'how can you have something like this in such a little town?'
"There's a number of reasons," said Shury. "Number one, the first recorded baseball game in the history of the North West Territories was played here, on the grounds of the Fort on May 31 of 1879.
"Secondly, the founder, who was my husband, loved baseball and organizing. And, so, he put his skills together and his dream was to have a Baseball Hall of Fame for Saskatchewan baseball because we had a rich, rich baseball history."
David Shury passed away in 2008 and since then Jane has carried on his work. At the open house Shury announced plans to preserve this legacy.
Tony Towstego, a producer and documentarian from Saskatoon, was on hand to sign an agreement with the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame Museum to digitally archive 100 of its items. In part to preserve these unique stories, Towstego says, but also to create interest and awareness in the museum.
"If we put it out there and make it known, they'll develop a lot of interest outside of the province," he says.
"Will it bring in more visitors here and more interest in the Hall of Fame? I think it will in the long run. I think it's the next important step to preserving this place and keeping its memories alive. Let's tell the world what's here, not just Saskatchewan."
Ultimately, Towstego says, "A project like this is exciting to be a part of. It has a higher purpose."
Also taking part in the event were Saskatchewan Baseball Museum supporters from Elks of Canada, who presented Shury with a cheque for $500.
The museum is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.