Friday, June 24, 2011

Exploring Banff Museums - 1

Thursday, June 23

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The weather forecast was for afternoon rain, so we decided to take in some of the wonderful museums in Banff.

First up: The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

We were given a guided tour of two heritage homes. This one is the Moore home, where Pearl Brewster lived with her husband Phillip Moore. Pearl Brewster was a sister to the founders of Brester Transfer, a transportation company that conducts different tours of the Canadian Rockies and the Columbia Icefields. The home was originally built elsewhere in Banff, and was moved to its present site on the Whyte Museum grounds in 1971.

The bed was a gift from a friend, and it was originally too high for the room. Pearl had to saw 6" off the legs, and remove the canopy for it to fit in the room. The flowers on the quilt were hand stitched by Stoney (First Nations) women and individually signed.

This is the home of Peter and Catharine Whyte, the founders of the museum. The Whytes, both painters who also were devoted to preserving the culture of the Canadian Rockies, built the home in 1931.
Here's a little about Catharine:

Every room has shelves full of books--as they operated the town's library for many years out of their home with their own personal books.

Their informal eating table. All the paintings on the walls of the home were done by Peter or Catharine. We saw many more at the Buffalo Nations Museum this afternoon.

This is Peter's and Catharine's studio.

At bottom right is a self-portrait of Peter.

After the heritage homes tour we went back inside the museum to view the Women Adventurers in the Rockies exhibit. This exhibit was fascinating--it chronicles 10 women, 5 contemporary and 5 from the past, who blazed different trails in the history of the Canadian Rockies. Two were painters, two were explorers, one was a warden's wife, and one was the first female warden. The ones that interested me the most were the contemporary ones.

Diny Harrison was the first North American woman to become an internationally certified full mountain guide and member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides.

Diny on a bivouac.

Diny's guide outfit.

Nancy Hanson.

Kathy Calvert was the first female warden in the national parks.

I was drawn to these 3 women because I wanted to be a climber, explorer, and ranger when I was in my teens. I didn't fully commit to that dream, but remember fondly the few years I actually did climb and explore.

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