Shifting regulations amidst the pandemic have made planning a challenge for staff with Rimbey’s Paskapoo Historical Park, but administrator Cheryl Jones is optimistic about the coming months.
Currently, the grounds are open for the public to enjoy but the Truck Museum remains closed.
Recently, the Province decided to delay the next phase of openings – which impacts of course the Truck Museum, she said.
“But we are preparing for the day when we can open. And the grounds, of course, are still open to the public,” she said. “They can get in on all three sides, and the parking is either on the road or in the Truck Museum parking lot.”
As mentioned, March 29th was a tentative opening date – which has been pushed back at this point because of a rise in hospitalizations and overall pandemic numbers.
Normally, Paskapoo Historical Park opens on the May long weekend and operations run seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through until the Labour Day weekend.
The Truck Museum is normally open year-round as well.
“Over the winter, we did have the Festival of Lights and that went really well,” she said. “Everybody put a little bit of extra effort in. I think people really appreciated having a place to come to – and we still have the green space. You can come to picnic and there is a playgroud, too.
“Even just to get out and walk – if you live in town you can feel like you are out in the country because it’s a nice park setting,” she said. “You can also stay safe and distance from people.”
Jones said as a Visitor Information Centre as well, she’s been in touch with Travel Alberta, compiling information in regards to what is open for campgrounds and such – and for what folks can do over the coming months.
“What’s in our own backyard? There is a lot in Alberta. There is a lot to do.”
According to the Town’s web site, “The Historical Park houses Rimbey’s museum showcase. The Rimbey Historical Society has painstakingly preserved the region’s heritage with exhibits located in vintage buildings that were refurbished and brought to the site.
“The original Kansas Ridge School, Town Office, General Store, Barbershop, Blacksmith Shop and Church of the Epiphany are filled with period memorabilia. The main museum buildings contain a huge variety of wonderful artifacts donated by Rimbey pioneers and the original Bluffton Legion, renovated in 2014, contains comprehensive exhibits dedicated to our veterans.”
In the meantime, Jones also pointed out how the Park usually relies on fundraising events over the summer to help keep things moving forward.
“We also rent out the pavilion, but because events and large gatherings aren’t viable again, we won’t be able to do that. So our fundraising efforts are very limited in terms of what we can do. We did see it coming so we have tried to cut back on any non-essential spending.
“We are also hoping to get funding for some summer students to keep the grounds nice, or we won’t have as many flowers,” she said, adding that last year, they didn’t plant annuals; only hanging baskets were set up.
“We could really use three students,” she said. “But we won’t hear about that until the middle of April.”
In the meantime, restoration work has been ongoing on the Steeves House – which used to be not only the Hoadley Post office but was also the home which acclaimed Alberta author Janette Oak, who has sold millions of titles internationally, grew up in.
Jones said that renovations have also been done in the archival room – which is packed with all kinds of materials and newspapers, histories and photos that are so reflective of the community’s rich past.
“We also have a 1953 jukebox that was donated years ago. We are hoping to give it a clean-over and then hopefully we can have it in the Truck Museum for people to listen to. Would’t it be cool for people to listen to all of those songs – the oldies – there are quite of few forty-fives that came with it as well.”
For more, find ‘Paskapoo Historical Park & Smithson International Truck Museum’ on Facebook.