Skip to content

Times are looking good at Soo Line Historical Museum

In spite of trying times in 2011, the Soo Line Historical Museum is currently thriving in 2012. This was one of the messages at the museum's annual general meeting on the evening of Feb. 6.
The executive committee of the Soo Line Historical Society gathers after their annual general meeting on Feb. 6. The committee is made up of, left to right, Mary Konotopetz, secretary, Barry Dickie, president, Wayne Knibbs, vice president, Art Wallace, past president, Joan Gregory, museum manager, and, not in picture, Marion Loucks, treasurer.

In spite of trying times in 2011, the Soo Line Historical Museum is currently thriving in 2012. This was one of the messages at the museum's annual general meeting on the evening of Feb. 6. At the event the organization went over how 2011 went and how they hope 2012 will go.

Weather was the main problem for the museum this past year. Like much of southeastern Saskatchewan, flooding wreaked havoc on the Weyburn landmark.

In the president's address, Art Wallace said that the museum had "two feet of rain in the basement" during the summer. The excess moisture was also a potential hazard to the Charles Wilson silver collection. Rain dripped into the silver room, forcing the board to have the collection moved into another part of the museum.

However, the Soo Line still had a good year for fundraising. The group held its annual raffle through the Co-op, and held their Gala dinner after Thanksgiving. As well, barbecues, and the annual bread-baking contest was held in efforts to raise money for Weyburn's premier historical depository.

The AGM also saw the Soo Line Museum Historical Society elect new members to its board. Malvina Trumpour, Barry Dickie, Colleen Lee, Dawn Raymond, and Don Sealy were all made new members of the board. Dickie was also elected the new president of the Historical Society.

"It's pretty nerve-wracking (to be named the new president). I don't really know what I'm getting myself into to be honest. I do know that it's going to be a big task," Dickie said.

Dickie's goals as president is to have more people come through the museum.

"This place is often overlooked (by locals). I think that this is one of the most amazing privately-run museums in the province. There is the silver collection, but there are also so many other great local stories. From W.O. Mitchell, to Tommy Douglas, to all of the pro hockey players from here, there is quite the list of home-grown heroes," Dickie explained.

So far, 2012 has been fairly successful for the museum both for its intended purpose and for people coming through for tourist information. Soo Line business manager Joan Gregory reports that the museum had 101 visitors in January and had six inquiries about tourist information. This compares to just 28 visitors to the museum in 2011, and no one looking for tourist information.

Gregory is hopeful that the museum will be able to keep this momentum going for the rest of the year. One project that Gregory thinks will be able to attract people to the Museum is a book that they are planning on publishing about war brides that came to Weyburn and area after the First and Second World Wars. The team behind the book has applied for the Sask Lotteries community grant to help fund the project.

"If we get approved for the grant, we are hoping to make a lot of revenue from the war brides project. We think that a lot of people will be coming through whose grandmother was a war bride or knew someone that was a war bride that will want to buy a book," Gregory said.

The museum has also applied for a Young Canada Works grant for summer employment. If they should get the grant, the museum would have a student or recent university graduate come and work at the museum this summer.