COMMUNITY REPORT

April 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022

A Message from Donna Livingstone, Whyte Museum CEO, and Donald Watkins, Chair of Whyte Museum Board of Directors

The title of our spring exhibition says it all: It's About Blooming Time!

 

Time to reconnect. Time to show some fabulous art. Time to breathe a sigh of relief with gratitude that we made it through the past two years.

Over the past year, we have connected with our partners, our communities, and each other in ways that have touched and inspired us.

 

Meanwhile, the unexpected restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic kept forcing us to change course. We were set to celebrate the 115th birthday of our remarkable founder, Catharine Robb Whyte, in June 2021, but were unable to gather. However, we mounted a wonderful new exhibition, Mansions to Mountains: In Conversation with Catharine Robb Whyte, that we also made available digitally via our website.

With our volunteer board, we organized an online Mountain Legends art auction that was flooded with generous donations - wonderful works of art, books, and a washstand that Group of Seven artist Lauren Harris may have washed his hands in one time at Twin Falls.

 

Result: every single piece sold and we raised $166,000 towards digitization and Indigenous programming.

 

During the last two years, we were gratefully assisted by the pandemic support from government and other agencies, receiving over $1 million to support digitization and accessibility, Indigenous programming, exhibitions (including virtual), and maintenance of our operations.

 

Working closely with our commercial tenants, we helped them with wage subsidies and rent assistance programs. We are grateful for all they do for us and the community.

 

We got off to a good start in 2022. Our January opening - the first in two years - was attended by 350 people, masked, distanced, and very happy to be back at the Whyte.

We achieved perpetual protection for Peter and Catharine's home through a successful municipal designation application. We repurposed our shop as a mountain bookstore and strengthened partnerships with the Banff Mountain Book Festival and Rocky Mountain Books. We initiated a lively online program of book launches and author discussions.

 

Chic Scott continues to impress with his research at the Whyte. His popular Fireside Chats were presented digitally, and a new series was launched, Pushing the Limits, featuring edited versions of rare interviews he conducted over twenty-five years ago.

We created an app for our popular walking tour of Banff, and have been developing Indigenous tours of our heritage homes and properties.

We worked closely with some remarkable young emerging Indigenous artists in creating colourful murals based on their research in our collections and with Elders and Knowledge Keepers, capturing the stories and insight they provide.

 

We are positioning the Whyte to connect people with nature through art, history, and stories. There is a healing power in nature; it's in our DNA. This is a time for regeneration.

 

We are building on a strong foundation that was laid during the past two years by a review of our unique location on the banks of the Bow River in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We have the location, experience, energy, and the support of our many friends and community partners.

We can't wait to see what grows!

DONNA LIVINGSTONE

Chief Executive Officer

DONALD WATKINS

Chair, Board of Directors