Claresholm Mu­seum proud site of new McKin­ney ad­di­tion

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - High River / Claresholm - BY HEATHER CAMERON

The Claresholm Mu­seum is set to ex­pand a small, cur­rently ex­ist­ing ex­hibit of Louise McKin­ney at the Claresholm Mu­seum and that ex­pan­sion will in­clude a bust of McKin­ney her­self. Louise McKin­ney was the first woman elected to a leg­is­la­ture in the Bri­tish Em­pire, be­ing elected to the Al­berta leg­isla­tive assembly in 1917.

“United Farm­ers His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety (UFHS) re­cently re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion from Al­berta Cul­ture and Tourism that it will re­ceive an $8,000 grant un­der the Tourism Growth In­no­va­tion Fund to ex­pand the on Louise McKin­ney at the Claresholm Mu­seum,” David Klug of the United Farm­ers His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety said. “The bust of Louise McKin­ney is one com­po­nent of the ex­hibit, but is not in­cluded as part of this ini­tial grant un­der the Tourism Growth In­no­va­tion Fund, and there­fore, no com­mis­sion has yet been con­firmed.”

The ex­pan­sion, Klug says, will al­low for re­de­vel­op­ment of the ex­hibit, which in­cludes ex­pand­ing the ac­tual ex­hibit and dig­i­tiz­ing many ar­ti­facts. Ex­pand­ing the ex­hibit will also in­clude mak­ing the new ex­hibit in­ter­ac­tive by in­clud­ing aug­mented real­ity el­e­ments, new panel dis­plays, and touch screens for vis­i­tors.

“Dig­i­ti­za­tion will also al­low many as­pects of the ex­hibit to be ac­cessed via the in­ter­net so a greater num­ber of peo­ple can learn more about this in­cred­i­ble woman who made such tremen­dous con­tri­bu­tions to the agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity and to both Al­berta and Cana­dian so­ci­ety,” Klug said.

McKin­ney, Klug says, was a pas­sion­ate leader in ru­ral Al­berta in the early 1900’s and was in­stru­men­tal in the devel­op­ment of the United Farm­ers of Al­berta (UFA).

Klug says that McKin­ney was also a mem­ber of the “Fa­mous Five,” women who suc­cess­fully ar­gued the “per­sons case” to the Ju­di­cial Com­mit­tee of the Privy Coun­cil in 1929.

The ‘per­sons case’ was where women were for­mally de­clared “per­sons” un­der the law and there­fore el­i­gi­ble to be ap­pointed to var­i­ous po­si­tions, in­clud­ing the right to be named and hold a po­si­tion of Se­na­tor in the Cana­dian Par­lia­ment.

McKin­ney and her fam­ily made their way to Claresholm and it was there that she ran and se­cured vic­tory as the can­di­date for Claresholm in Al­berta’s Non-Par­ti­san League party in 1917. Ul­ti­mately, Louise McKin­ney passed away in Claresholm in 1931 at the age of 63, but her legacy lives on. She will never be for­got­ten with the ex­pan­sion of the ex­hibit.

Work on the ex­pan­sion of the ex­hibit, Klug says, is ex­pected to be­gin in late 2018 and is an­tic­i­pated to take ap­prox­i­mately six months.

“This will be a per­ma­nent ex­hibit at the mu­seum,” Klug said. “Events to mark the open­ing of the ex­hibit will be an­nounced at a later date closer to its open­ing.”

To learn more about Louise McKin­ney and her mark on Cana­dian his­tory, visit louise-mckin­ney.

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