Culture & Events — 12 July 2017
Hometown Proud: Summer museum exhibit explores nostalgic local territory

Like names carved in schoolhouse desks, a new exhibit at The Dryden Museum asks to visitors to leave their mark. Photos by Chris Marchand

By Chris Marchand

Dryden Minor Hockey photo of local NHLers Sean and Chris Pronger.

A new summer exhibit at the Dryden and District Museum is hoping to push your nostalgia buttons with a multi-faceted look at the Dryden of yesteryear and the many things we hold dear.

For new museum curator Bethany Waite, the project — assisted by her predecessor Leah Gardner and Nicole Gale — was a crash course in local history.

“It was a great intro into the history of Dryden for me,” said Waite. “I used the Carved From The Wilderness book and the Dryden Centennial book as sort of my foundation. Then Leah came in for a couple days to help me with the exhibit and discuss some things from the off-site storage that haven’t been on display before.”

Sure to make any Oxdrift expatriate swoon, one of those previously unseen items from Dryden agricultural origins is a well-preserved seed separator which dominates the front room of the display space.

From First Nations origins and artifacts, to handmade replicas of logging camps, the exhibit veers into the interactive realm asking residents to chalk their favourite memories of Dryden onto part of a schoolhouse display.

A pair of early ice skates.

In conjunction with Home Town Proud month, which will culminate later in the month with an arena fundraiser dinner attended by Chris Pronger and other former NHLers, the display features some interesting local sports memorabilia including early ice skates, relics from the era of the Dryden Rockets, and lists of local players who graduated through Dryden Minor Hockey to play junior hockey, enter a professional league as well as the big show — the National Hockey League.

Nicole Gale says the City of Dryden is hoping to integrate the museum’s activities more closely with community events and tourism.

“That’s kind of where the early stages of this exhibit came from,” said Gale. “Allowing us to celebrate a bit of who we’ve been in our last hundred-plus years as a community in Dryden. Also to harken back to our roots and look at how we’ve developed over this timeframe.” 

A relic from the 1960s era Dryden Rockets Hockey who found international success in Old Timers Hockey circles.

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Chris Marchand is a native of Dryden, Ontario. He served his first newspaper internship at The Dryden Observer in 1998 while attending journalism studies at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C. He's worked desks as both reporter and editor at the Fernie Free Press as well as filled the role of sports editor at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Marchand was named editor of the Dryden Observer in Aug. 2009.

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