Prairie Tractor and Engine Museum is open for the season, as the fine folks of yesteryear from Coyote Flats Pioneer Village welcome new visitors and those back for another root tootin’ good time. The museum features many artifacts from years gone by depicting Albertan heritage, with this year’s latest theme being a salute to irrigation. This season also welcomes back for her second year, Nicole Desautels, the museum’s event co-ordinator summer student.
“We’re excited about having a busy season. We’ve got our school program,” said Vern King, president of the museum, adding the school program has been operating close to 14 years, with students coming to visit the museum from Taber, Lethbridge and surrounding area.
“This year we have 15 visits scheduled, for the most part, during the month of June. We’ll have just under 600 students visiting us, along with their parents and of course their teachers,” noted King.
KIng explained the museum tries to offer primary grade students an opportunity to experience the past.
“To show them that things haven’t always been the way they are today. We have a little time in the classroom and then we do a tour of our Pioneer Village and Nicole will probably be involved taking them on a coulee walk. We’ve got at least four old mines that were located just below us in the coulee and then at the end of their visit they have a chance to climb on tractors and be farmers for the day,” said King, adding admission to the museum is by donation.
Not only is the museum a tourist attraction for the Picture Butte area, the big hall located in the Pioneer Village is becoming quite popular as a venue for receptions, family gatherings, birthday parties and weddings, said King.
“Quite often we have the actual wedding ceremony in our little church. It’s the first Christian Reformed church that was built in Canada,” said King, dating back to the early 1900s.
Prairie Tractor and Engine has been a certified museum since 2009, before that the Alberta Museums Association, King said, hadn’t really given the museum official recognition.
“It’s not every museum in Alberta that has that designation. We’ve existed here since 1987,” he added.
This season many events are scheduled at the museum including a Tractor Pull on June 14, the celebration of Lethbridge County’s 50 years on July 19 and the annual Harvest Days show, which coincides with Picture Butte’s Jamboree Days Aug. 15-17. The museum is open until the last week of September. For more information visit online at http://www.prairietractor.ca.