Display reflects prairie history of Chinese restaurants

The Bentley Museum is proud to announce that until June 30 they are the temporary home of a special exhibit, and they are inviting

Bentley Museum board members Cora Knutson and Betty Kubista admire the “Chop Suey On the Prairies” travelling Royal Alberta Museum exhibit now on loan to the Bentley Museum. Local artifacts have been added. It will be on display until the end of June.

Bentley Museum board members Cora Knutson and Betty Kubista admire the “Chop Suey On the Prairies” travelling Royal Alberta Museum exhibit now on loan to the Bentley Museum. Local artifacts have been added. It will be on display until the end of June.

The Bentley Museum is proud to announce that until June 30 they are the temporary home of a special exhibit, and they are inviting everyone to come to see it.

“Chop Suey On the Prairies”, a travelling display created by the Royal Alberta Museum, is now in Bentley.

It seems most Alberta, or indeed prairie towns, have had, or still have, distinctive Chinese restaurants that have been an important part of their history. This display attempts to reflect that.

Committee members have created a binder as the topic pertains to Bentley that includes local historic information about three Chinese cafes in Bentley, and local business families have loaned Chinese artifacts to the museum to help embellish the provincial display.

Records indicate the first Chinese cafe in Bentley was in the Wine building in the 1920-30s. A second one, where the Bentley Hotel restaurant is located, opened in the 1970s, and a third one, the present Rose Cafe, opened in the1980s. The families who ran them have contributed greatly to the community and its history. Interesting anecdotes from some of the family members who came to Alberta from China are available to read.

Members from the museum actually started the application process to try to procure the Chinese restaurant display about two years ago. They had to meet certain criteria and were inspected to see what they had to offer.

When the museum was contacted and told they could have the display, members had to travel to Evansburg to pick up four black plastic boxes, transport them back to Bentley, unpack them, and set up the travelling display according to the included instructions. There were some glitches but now it has all come together. Locally collected/donated/loaned items have been added to increase the interest and esthetic appeal of the exhibit.

With the help of dedicated volunteers the Bentley Museum will offer special viewings on most Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons from 2 to 5 p.m. and will offer evening viewings on Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Admission to the Bentley Museum is always free. It is located at 4929 – 51 Avenue, one block north of Main Street in the centre of town. Look for the windmill.

Group tours can be arranged by calling ahead and making alternate special arrangements.

For more information or to arrange a tour, call Betty at 403-748-2744, Clara at 403-748-2350, or Cora at 403-748-2455.

By June Norvila