Family, flapjacks and archives: Lethbridge digs into Family Day celebrations at Galt Museum
Tyler, Airel, Jamie and Shayla Thomas took time out on Family Day to research their own history in the archives at the Galt Museum.
LETHBRIDGE -- Families across the province have enjoyed the Family Day long weekend since it became a statutory holiday in Alberta back in 1990, but this year, close to a thousand southern Albertans had an extra reason to celebrate.
A long lineup of families gathered outside the Galt Museum Monday morning for its second Family Day brunch, which combined comfort food and family histories.
Last year about 900 people came for the family fun, with the hope to keep the numbers growing each year.
CEO and Executive Director of Galt Susan Burrow-Johnson said everyone enjoyed doing crafts together.
“The children are welcome to go in and out of the exhibits," Burrow-Johnson said. "We have a treasure hunt that is always very fun to for the children to track down objects inside the exhibitions.”
Burrow-Johnson added that Alberta was the first province to put a stat holiday in the middle of February, giving families a well-deserved break while spending time together.
The brunch was all about welcoming the community and giving families lots of activities to do together.
Community Program Coordinator Janea Redgrave said not only was there ample food but. guests got to check out the latest exhibits.
“People were very excited to come in and I think people are interested to learn about our community history as well as their family history and of course (nosh on some) free pancakes," she said.
Redgrave said the line was long outside the museum but it was even longer inside for the free pancakes.
This year’s marks Alberta’s 30th Family Day Anniversary, and at the Galt Museum families could explore their own family history and ties to the community.
Archives Assistant Bobbie Fox said it was even possible to determine the exact spot your relatives once lived, in addition to other interesting information connecting your family tree.
“South of Nanton to the border, west to the B.C. border and east to Medicine Hat, anything that happened in that area, you will be able to find something here and we’re always looking for new things that kind of fall within that mandate," said Fox.
Fox says Galt archives have a very large collection of photos from A.E Cross because a lot of people used to get their pictures taken by them.
From photos to diaries, the Galt archives can help pinpoint moments and timelines in many different peoples' family history.
'You're learning about your family history'
A family of four (the Thomas’s) saw some of their own familiar faces. Dad Jamie Thomas, Mom Ariel Thomas, daughter Shayla Thomas and son Tyler Thomas sid they were all really excited to spend the day together learning about their history.
“We don’t get a chance to come to the Galt very often," said Jamie, "and when it’s open and available to come see the archives I think you have to take advantage of it.
"There’s a wealth of information here, you’re learning about your own family history not just in Lethbridge but all of southern Alberta. I mean it’s a huge repository of fantastic information," he added.
Mom Ariel said she saw some photos of her past teacher, while the kids Shayla and Tyler were excited to see old photos of relatives.
“Learning about our great grandparents, and about our history in Lethbridge, that’s been pretty fun.” said Shayla.
The museum has programming throughout the year to help southern Albertans who want to connect with their roots and learn more about the place their family called home.
The next family history research session at the Galt Museum is March 12th from 7-9pm.