From farming equipment to household items, the many artifacts in the North Battleford Western Development Museum have weathered the years, but standing the test of time is about to get easier, thanks to government funding.
The federal government is investing $81,400 in the museum, through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, a program aiming to improve physical conditions and increase access to the arts, museum collections and heritage displays.
MP Gerry Ritz made the announcement, on behalf of the minister of Canadian Heritage, March 4 at the WDM.
"This project opens the door to new exhibits that showcase Saskatchewan's rich prairie heritage," said Ritz.
The funds will go towards replacing the museum's out-dated heating system with a new rooftop heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, which will increase the museum's usable space and improve artifact preservation by enabling the facility to better monitor and regulate the temperature.
Rena Weikle, WDM provincial board member, thanked the government for their contribution, saying, "The funds given today will help to enhance and grow opportunities for future developments."
Weikle explained the WDM, besides being an important part of the community, is a popular tourist attraction, and she pointed out over 35,000 visitors from around the world come to the museum on an annual basis.
"Whether it is dancing at a family wedding, churning butter on school tours, fiddlers performing at family programs, a front row seat at the local community theatre, or a ride on an antique fire truck, there is something for everyone," said Weikle.
Both Mayor Ian Hamilton and Mayor Chris Odishaw attended the announcement.
"The Western Development Museum is a great asset to the Battlefords," said Odishaw, adding many people have spoken to him about the displays and events at the museum.
"I think there's a renewed sense of excitement at the WDM," he said.
Winston Tait, 85, is one of the many volunteers who believe in the importance of the museum to the community.
"It takes a lot of money to run and we've always got to improve," he said.
Tait volunteers as the co-ordinator for steam traction engines.
"I really like the steam engines because my dad had one," Tait said, adding, "I used to look forward to thrashing every year."
Tait, who attended the announcement, said he was happy to hear of the contribution.
Ritz said, "It's always great to come home and be able to make these kinds of announcements."