Front exterior of Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery with visitors and families enjoying the outdoor exhbits
Jun 29

Tourism Talk Tuesday with the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (the MAG), showcases a variety of scheduled art and history-related exhibits.

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (the MAG), showcases a variety of scheduled art and history-related exhibits. With an artifacts collection consisting of more than 90,000 objects representing donations by over 3,000 individuals from Red Deer and the surrounding area.

Located between the Golden Circle and Recreation Centre in downtown Red Deer; this not-for-profit organization was established as the Red Deer & District Museum Society, in November of 1972 and commenced operation in 1973, marking the City of Red Deer’s 60th anniversary.

Not only do they house an incredible collection of local history, but they also provide enriching programs, activities, workshops, and events for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy, all year long.

Read ahead for a look at how this Tourism Red Deer member inspires a greater understanding of the art, history and heritage of Red Deer and Central Alberta.

What makes you different, unique or stand out?

“We tell the inside story of Red Deer,” says Karli Kendall, Marketing Coordinator of the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery. “We do this by collecting historical items and artifacts and use them to tell the story of our heritage and culture.”

The MAG is committed to creating memorable experiences that reflect the rich and complex diversity of Red Deer and the surrounding area. “We are also building a collection of local art as a way of ensuring that the art and rich art history of our region is showcased and celebrated,” says Kendall. “Talented local artists are exhibited in rotating exhibits throughout the year.”

Permanent and temporary exhibits are on display throughout the year and range from touring national history or art exhibits to art exhibits highlighting local and provincial artists. “We also showcase exhibits focused around the MAG’s collection in changing display cases and temporary exhibits,” says Kendall.

Their permanent history exhibit, Remarkable Red Deer: Stories from the Heart of the Parkland, shares the stories from the heart of the Parkland. “We are proud to be able to share these stories with our community,” says Kendall. “Our unique settlement history and growth is credited to leadership and “can-do” attitude which is still evident today.”

Why do you do what you do?

“Sharing a passion of history and art,” says Kendall. “Here at the MAG, we are passionate about art and history, and we are committed to creating memorable experiences for our visitors, in order to help them understand the people, history and culture of Central Alberta.

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery aims to reflect the beauty, complexity and rich diversity of the area through its exhibits, programming and activities. "We want to engage families in learning together about our community – and the rest of the world," says Kendall.

“We have a rich and varied collection, supported by fascinating research,” says Kendall. “We now have the opportunity to tell the stories of the artifacts in the collection in creative ways that will involve visitors of all ages in a journey of discovery.”

From time to time, the MAG will bring exhibitions from other museums to Red Deer to share their delight and curiosity about the art, culture and history of the rest of the world.

Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery display celebrating agriculture history in Red Deer
Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery displays of sculpture and art
Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery display celebrating agriculture history in Red Deer
What can guests (local or visiting) expect to experience?

“Visitors of the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery can expect an engaging experience that providing them with new insights and creative fuel,” says Kendall.

Upon arrival to the museum, you are greeted by a peaceful koi fishpond and friendly Visitor Services staff, who will introduce you to what is currently on display in the MAG and send you off to explore. Don’t forget to visit their gift shop, where you can purchase and take some inspiration home with you.

“Throughout our displays, you will witness a myriad of themes from Red Deer’s history, such as clothing, war times, children's toys, nature, sports and more,” says Kendall. “Our largest collection is clothing and textiles with over 15,000 items, and we have significant collections of military history, decorative arts, the history of commerce and agriculture in Red Deer, visual arts created by artists from Central Alberta, and contemporary First Nations art by artists from across Canada.”

Self-guided activities like matching artifacts to the people who owned them or listen to stories (voiced by local actors like Kerry Wood and Ella Parsons) can be experienced by pressing the buttons on coordinating exhibit panels.

“Along with our varying exhibits, we also offer a range of learning opportunities for people of all ages, with ongoing family activities, special events, adult programs and day camps for children,” says Kendall.

You can share your unique perspective by making some art of your own in one of the MAG’s various programs. “We invite you to drop into our studio on MAGnificent Saturdays art-making program for families and participate in that day’s activity,” says Kendall. More details and a full calendar of programming and events can be found on their website.

Replenished with new insights, you can step out next door into Heritage Square, surrounded by historic buildings such as Stephenson Hall Block and learn about the building’s history. Use your new knowledge to discover what other treasures the world has to offer in the luscious walking trails near the museum.

What is new or upcoming?

The exhibition Prairie Vernacular Exhibit will be on display at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery until August 16, 2021. This exhibit includes over 50 artists, 9 themes with an amazing collection of work. The Exhibit examines historic and contemporary representations of the vernacular in artistic practice on the Canadian prairies, considering the relationship of folk art to contemporary art produced in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Prairie in the City: Heritage Day @ the MAG, August 2, 2021. Drop-in 1:00 – 4:00 pm. An event for all ages with live music by local musician Mike Szabo, sack races, outdoor games, prairie art activities and more.

Coming to the MAG this Fall is the touring Exhibit World War Women developed by the Canadian War Museum (Ottawa), August 28 to November 28, 2021. This travelling exhibition focuses on the experiences of Canadian women during the First and Second World Wars.

Be sure to watch their website and social media for the most up-to-date information and happenings.

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery would like to invite you to visit the museum and then tell them about your experience. “We want to engage our locals and visitors and get their input on various topics that could inspire our future efforts,” says Kendall.

Some questions include:

  • What stories should they tell?
  • What kind of artifacts you would most like to see?
  • What kinds of activities you would like to see?
  • What things would generate conversations between generations?
  • What ideas could we present that will change the way we live in our community?

Want to be featured in one of our blog stories? Become a Member of Tourism Red Deer and collect your member benefits today. Connect with our team to find your best fit and learn how we can best exhibit your business.

Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery with children admiring the aboriginal regailia displays
Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery with two children learning with an interactive display
Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery with a young child using a computer display to learn about family history

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