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Recent Acquisitions on Display at the Whyte Museum

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

By Kate Skelton, Processing Archivist


Back to The Cairn

Over the past few weeks, members of the Archives and Library team at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies have been working collaboratively with staff from the Museum’s Curatorial and Photography departments to help prepare for a new exhibit opening this month, titled Recent Acquisitions. This new exhibit will feature specially selected items which have been donated to the Whyte Museum recently, including photographs, blueprints, letters and more.

As the Whyte Museum’s Processing Archivist, I have been working up-close with some of these new acquisitions to ensure that items are properly organized, stored and recorded on the Whyte Museum Archive and Library’s database system before being put on display. In particular, I have processed donations related to the Kidney family (including Forest “Pop” Kidney and Ella Maud Kidney), Parks Canada employees and naturalist Aileen Harmon, Bruno Engler’s Veteran’s Ski Race (now referred to as the Bruno Engler Memorial Ski Race) and violinist David Zweifel. I have also worked with other recently acquired collections in preparation for the Recent Acquisitions exhibition, including those of David McDougall (the first owner of the Mount Royal Hotel), and the Wing family, who owned and ran the Dominion Café in Banff. Processing and drawing from these donations has led to the uncovering of some incredible personal stories and historical moments from the Bow Valley.


Kidney family donation which was processed for the Recent Acquisitions exhibit

Some of my favourite pieces from the new acquisitions include: photographs from the Kidney family depicting an early Banff building overlooking Tunnel Mountain, dated 1886, and Banff’s first community picnic in 1888; personal letters between David McDougall and Gordon Carling from 1910, discussing Gordon’s engagement to David’s daughter, Annie McDougall; and a photo album from the Wing family containing scenes from their lives in Banff (ca. 1950-1980).


Unidentified family outside a building in Banff, overlooking Tunnel Mountain, 1886, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Kidney family fonds, (V324/III/PA-93)

Image of Banff’s first community picnic, 1888 Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Kidney family fonds, (V324/I/PA-115)

Items from the Kidney family, Aileen Harmon, the Wing family and David McDougall collections, along with works by artist and local ski map producer Murray Hay, will be included as part of the Recent Acquisitions exhibit, which will have its opening reception on Sunday, June 16th between 2 and 4 p.m. We will also be celebrating the 50th annual Back to Banff Day. Items from the David Zweifel collection will also be accessible in the Archives and Library Reference Room as part of Back to Banff Day’s activities at the Whyte Museum. Entry to the opening reception is free! All are welcome to come and see these local treasures for themselves.


Items from the featured acquisitions which have not been selected for display may also be accessed in person at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies Archives and Library (open weekly from Tuesday to Friday between 1 and 5 p.m.) or by searching our online database. More information about current and upcoming exhibitions can be found here.


Back to The Cairn

111 Bear Street, Banff, Alberta, T1L 1A3, Canada

T: 1 403 762 2291   

E: info [at] whyte.org

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The Whyte Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of The Peter and Catharine Whyte Foundation and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts

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