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Friends of the Whyte: Whyte Museum Summer 2023 Interpreter Wendy Bradley

Updated: May 1


Friends of the Whyte is a series celebrating community, featuring Whyte Museum members, donors, staff, and friends, to get to know them a little bit better.


During the summer of 2023, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies had a team of five interpreters sharing the history of Banff, engaging with visitors and sharing what the Whyte Museum has to offer.


Whyte Museum summer interpreter Wendy Bradley is a long-term Banff local and artist with deep family roots in the Bow Valley. In this Q&A, we learn more about Wendy's experience as an Interpreter.


Childhood photo of Wendy Bradley and her horse Strawberry on Tunnel Mountain Road. Personal Collection of Wendy Bradley.
Childhood photo of Wendy Bradley and her horse Strawberry on Tunnel Mountain Road. Personal Collection of Wendy Bradley.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself! What brought you to the Whyte Museum interpreter team?


I'm a professional artist and Banff is my hometown - four generations of my family have lived here - two have worked at the Whyte Museum! I applied to be an Interpretive Guide last summer because I knew I would enjoy it. I also wanted to know more about Banff's early history and not rely on the stories I grew up with, but instead dig into important facts and dates about people and places. As a result, two of my favourite things have been a large part of every single day at work - art and history!


2. How would you describe this job position and your experience last summer to others?


Working as part of a team of Interpretive Guides this summer, I experienced a collegial workplace where growing edges of curiosity and inquiry were shared. We delivered tours about historic people and places with reliable sourced materials and our Summer 2023 exhibit "For the Birds." We became repositories of relevant and useful information to provide insights and answer questions in informative and helpful ways.



Wendy Bradley on trail between Banff and Canmore. Personal collection of Wendy Bradley.
Wendy Bradley on trail between Banff and Canmore. Personal collection of Wendy Bradley.



3. If you could have dinner with one historical Banff figure, who would it be? Why? What would you want to ask/know?

For me a dinner party with Peter and Catharine Whyte and my grandparents, Chuck and Doris Millar would be wonderful! As they were good friends, I would love to hear their conversation and memories of their lives in Banff. I wonder what topic they would discuss - what was important to them? One question I would ask is: What was a missed opportunity that would have impacted the development of Banff in their lifetimes? And would it be an opportunity to act on today if they could? It would be a fascinating dinner!


4. Why should others visit the Whyte Museum and Banff National Park?


I recommend visiting Banff National Park as people have since 1883 because of the magnificent scenery, the opportunity to see wildlife in the wilderness, and to participate in world-renowned mountain culture. Hiking, skiing, sightseeing, festivals, dining, museums, history, and arts.


One of those places to experience the rich mountain culture from its early settlement in Banff to today is at the Whyte Museum. It offers tours and exhibits steeped in the history of prominent people and places, a world class Archives and Library of the Canadian Rockies, and current exhibits in four galleries. Events at the museum feature many authors and artists, lectures on current topics, and some annual favourites enjoyed for many years, such as the Jon Whyte Spelling Bee and A Whyte Christmas.


The Whyte Museum is the perfect starting point to gain a context for what Banff was, is now, and aspires to be.


Thanks, Wendy, for your time with the Whyte Museum!

 

Want to learn more about Canadian Rockies history? Discover our private and public tours coming soon at the Whyte Museum this summer. For summer 2024, four public tours will be offered:


  • Heritage Homes Tour - a 25-minute guided tour of the historic homes of museum founders Peter and Catharine Whyte and notable locals Philip and Pearl (Brewster) Moore.

  • Gateway to the Rockies Tour - a 25-minute guided museum tour. Learn how the mountains were opened up to all through stories of some of those drawn to these peaks.

  • Historic Banff Walking Tour - get off the beaten path with a 60-minute guided tour through the Banff townsite, learning about the men and women who helped build and shape the town.

  •  J.E.H. MacDonald: The O’Hara Era – Summer Exhibition Tour - learn more about the rich history behind our summer exhibition at this guided gallery tour in the Whyte Museum.


Check out our tours page for the most up to date information!


 


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