(Cutting the ribbon is Miriam Hofmeister, assisted by Larry Wiggins and Eldon Piper, for the new home of Fillmore's museum)
Submitted by Sheaunid Wiggins
The “new” Prairie Memories Museum’s grand opening and annual barbecue was held in Fillmore on July 21 at its new location in the former United Church at 83 Main St.
Following lunch, museum board member Marvin Chambers, acting as emcee, welcomed everyone to the grand opening. He called on museum board chair Larry Wiggins, Fillmore and Osage Mayors Lyle Stomp and Gary Kreutzer, RM Reeve Russ Leguee, Cannington MLA Daryl Harrison, and Creelman resident Joan Krieger, to bring greetings.
Former resident Miriam Hofmeister, Regina, cut the ribbon, assisted by Larry Wiggins and vice-chair Eldon Piper. Miriam’s husband, Dale Hofmeister, was one of the instigators of the first museum. Then the doors were opened and people flocked into the building.
The “old” Prairie Memories Museum started its history as the Presbyterian Church building in 1907. It later was used as the town hall for a few years, and the United Church before the present facility was building in 1951 (to replace the one destroyed by fire in 1946).
It then became the Masonic Hall for several years before becoming the home of the “old” Prairie Memories Museum.
Some of the interesting items on display are a corn sheller (with demonstrations); Randy and Winston Hall’s grandmother Ester Hall’s side saddle; a ventriloquists’ dummy; the display case; cash register; and store sign from the Chinese café (with standing room only on Saturday nights after the picture show!); a replica of Huronville Church (which was part of Fillmore Pastoral Charge) built by former area farmer Ivan Callfas; Terry Hanson’s grandmother Chowaniac’s hand and crank-operated wheelchair.
Items are displayed on three levels, with agricultural items and woodworking made by Dale Hofmeister and Clarence Earl displayed on the lower level, and household, library (with numerous scrapbooks of past Fillmore events and items, made by Gwen Hall and Lydia Noble), on the main floor.
The United Church choir loft remains untouched and sports-related articles are found up in the balcony. Items from Fillmore’s only Olympian, Rod Boll, who attended the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, as a trapshooter, are in the entryway.
Hopes are to have a stair lift or elevator installed when funds are available.
The front outside of the museum displays a beautiful plaque, purchased by the church, telling the history of Fillmore United Church. On the lawn, the original town hitching post for horses is displayed. Sheaunid Wiggins remembers tying her school pony to it while doing errands after school.
Larry Wiggins and Eldon Piper have been the mainstays, devoting the last few years of their time to first “the old” and later “the new” museums, spending countless hours renovating and building.
Carol Urban, the curator, has also “lived at the museum” numbering and recording items as they are donated. All three are to be given huge votes of thanks for their time, dedication and expertise. Other board members are interested residents have also helped packing up all the items for the move from old to the new, or with “grunt” labour as required.
For the present, the museum will be open every Sunday up to and including Labour Day weekend, or by appointment call: Larry Wiggins – 306-722-3582; Eldon Piper – 306-722-3391; Carol Urban – 306-722-3813 or Myrna Sanhiem – 306-722-3804.