Museum offers a step into the past

Let’s go back in time

Museum offers a step into the past

History comes alive with a visit to the Bentley Museum. Since its inception in 1991, the museum has been a cornerstone to the community as a place to preserve and celebrate its past.

The site made its permanent home in August 1992 when the old Pico house was donated making its way across the bridge down the main street of Bentley to where it now stands. Over time, citizens have been donating their own artifacts to the museum, which now hold three different buildings, each full of rich history.

The job of maintaining the museum and sorting through all the artifacts fall on a group of dedicated community board members led by chairperson Cora Knutson.

“We are very active,” says Knutson. “We have upped our board to twelve which includes some young people and very good maintenance men.”

One of the main jobs of the board is the collecting and sorting through the high volume of items, which are donated by the citizens of Bentley. “Our artifacts come from our community,” says Knutson. “We have a full basement in this house and it is our storage.”

Some special exhibits at the museum are a large display of wedding dresses from different eras, an old school house, and relics from the First World War, which can be seen throughout the museum’s three large buildings. There is also a booth, which holds memorabilia of famous country and western singer Dick Damron who was a resident of Bentley.

“Dick Damron is our pride and joy”, exclaims Knutson. “We have all of his books and CDs.”

Along with keeping the museum in order, the board has also been in charge on some online projects, which have helped preserve Bentley’s history. Two web programs the museum was funded to do are “Chronicles of Bentley” which includes archival photos of the town and “Bentley and Area Schools” which describes schools throughout Bentley’s history. These programs are part of the Virtual Museums of Canada website which is designed to explore the stories of hundreds of communities throughout the country.

With all of this hard work being done by its board members, Knutson also acknowledges the museum thrives through the support of the town of Bentley. “Our community supports us very well. We canvas and send letters out, and they are good at donating money. We are very lucky that the town supports us.”

The Bentley Museum is currently on their winter hours schedule, which means they are open on Wednesday mornings or by appointment. Their hours will increase in the summer.