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Museum plans Mountjoy rock garden

The Yellowhead Historical Society unveiled its donor wall on Saturday, Nov. 25. In attendance were museum manager Robert Hubick and Jasper Yellowhead Historical Society board members Wayne Kennedy, Herb Robinson and Warren Waxer. | E. Matthews photos

by Evan Matthews | reporter@fitzhugh.ca

Adding to its own history, the Jasper Yellowhead Museum has unveiled its donor wall. But the biggest news might be the addition of a brand new exhibit.

In the same week the Jasper Yellowhead Historical Society completed the installation of its donor wall, the society announced the addition of a geological exhibit. The exhibit will honour Eric Mountjoy, a prolific Canadian geologist, as president of the society Warren Waxer says Mountjoy’s estate left a sizeable donation to the museum.

“Eric Mountjoy did extensive and significant geological exploration in the Park and we would like to honour his legacy,” says Waxer. “Mountjoy’s wife, Anita, has donated money to establish a geological display both inside and outside the museum.”

Though the geological display is still in the early planning stages, Waxer says the plan is to have an outdoor “rock garden” on the west side of the building. The exhibit will also see an indoor exhibit, which he says will convey some basic geological information and brief history of mining in Jasper National Park.

The rock garden will display four or five samples of the region’s most prominent rock types such as limestone, quartzite or shale, he says.

Where the exhibit’s rocks will come from is still being discussed, according to Waxer, but ideally they would be taken from “pre-disturbed” boulders.

“It is donations such as the Mountjoy family’s that allow us to improve and update our facility,” says Waxer, pointing to the recently unveiled donor wall as a visual thank you.

The museum installed the donor wall as a way to recognize the generosity of the individual and corporate donors helping to build the museum over 30 years ago, and continue to help maintain it today, according to Waxer.

“The notable donors at the time were the Province of Alberta through its Facility Enhancement Program, CP Hotels — who used to own Jasper Park Lodge, CN Rail and the Clifford Lee Foundation,” says Waxer. “Of course we cannot begin to list all the individuals who have made financial contributions of all sizes… But actually we have listed them… on the wall!”

Half of the museum’s annual revenue comes in the form of donations and municipal grants, Waxers says, saying they “are essential” to its operation.

The main rationale for the new donor wall was to correct an out of date list on the previous wall, according to Waxer.

The original design had each donor recognized on an engraved brass blade, he says, but became prohibitively expensive this time around — with “each blade” increasing from $10 to $70 — so the museum opted to go with a printed format, he says.

“It’s attractive, while easy and economical to update,” says Waxer. “We hope we have the problem of constantly having to add names.”

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