Tuesday, December 24


The Cupar Cracker was a booklet published during WWII and intended to be sent to the soldiers overseas.  I thought at this time of year some of you may be interested in a sampling of what the clergy had to say. Christmastide Dec. 24 to Jan. 6

Christmas 1942

 Christmas 1943

Sunday, December 8

Christmas Shopping

Here are a couple of samples of ads for Christmas shopping in Cupar.  Certainly there are fewer stores in comparison to the early years but you can still do Christmas shopping in Cupar.  Since the beginnings of Cupar the newspaper and editorials promoted the need to shop locally, the same is true today.

 Cupar Herald Dec 15 1910                                                                Cupar Herald Dec 2 1915

One of the innovative shopping ideas for today is the Cupar Library's Kid's Christmas shopping day. It is in it's third year.  People donate gifts and the children come and shop, many items are under $5.

Friday, November 22

Remembering Meade

Success is not measured by ambition, by achieving fame or money, being written about or recorded or even published in literature, rather success is measured in how we touch the lives of those around us.

I only knew Meade for the last 18 years.  He lived on the outskirts of Cupar.  He walked to the restaurant everyday for coffee with " the boys ".  He was a humble, quiet, unassuming man with kind eyes.  I knew he was a RCAF WWII Vet.
Although he was reluctant to discuss the war, he did let my husband, Darryl Miller, interview him for the video:
"I Remember"

What I did not know until his funeral was how active he was in the community, as a mayor, in the United Church, with the Legion, and with the curling rink.

It also became obvious at his funeral that he had a large and loving family.

 "Meade" Hugh McSweeney Feb. 1, 1922 - Nov. 16, 2013

I would like to thank Meade's daughter  for giving the Cupar museum a photo of Meade in his WWII uniform.  If there are any other Cupar families out there who have photos of family members from either WWI or WWII we would be happy to add them to our collection.

Saturday, November 16

The Fighting Fifth

2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI.  I have been going through old Cupar Herald's looking for information and found a letter from the front by Arthur Whiskin and a poem
submitted by Albert Newkirk about the fighting 5th .

Tuesday, October 8

Harvest Lunch & Sports Expo

Another successful Harvest Lunch was held October 5th at the Cupar Legion Hall.
Approximately 120 people attended. 
The raffle of a limited signed edition print of a Canada Goose by
Saskatchewan wildlife artist Joan Pain was won by Kelly Findling.
We raised $400.
The door prize, a print by E. Bereti, of the Cupar School Board,
was won by Joe Benko.

  This year for Culture Days we celebrated Sports in our community.
The exhibit included photos, uniforms, equipment,
and articles from the Cupar Herald in 1906, 07 and 11.
Although the main areas were hockey, ball and curling.
Ringette, tennis and skating were present.

          It seemed to have inspired people to search for  memorabilia from other sports.
Add to your winter to do list folks.

Can you find the hockey helmet?

These 2 photos are from 1911.

 Did you know the Cupar Herald in 1911 talks about the formation of a football club?
We have no artifacts.

Monday, September 30

Flag Day

 Local Legions across Canada designate a day to honour veterans who have passed away and are buried in Local Cemeteries.  This year on September 29th Royal Canadian Legion Cupar Branch # 217, dressed in uniform, placed flags and poppies, and then saluted the graves of war veterans.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of WWI.
There are number of WWI headstones to be found in the Cupar Cemetery. The Cupar and District Heritage Museum is presently planning to commemorate the anniversary through a variety of displays including photos, attestation papers, photographs, uniforms and other memorabilia. 

Stay tuned for details.

Tuesday, September 24

Smart Phone or Any Phone

I found this editorial in the Cupar Herald dated April 27, 1911.  How things change in 100 years.

Wednesday, September 18

The Sensation and Joy of Paper

In our digital age there are those who no longer value paper. I was told I should garbage the copies of our Cupar Herald, because they were on micro film at the Saskatchewan Archives, and the paper itself was disintegrating. The early copies are over one hundred years old. Even under climate control conditions their time is limited. Certainly I am happy they are preserved on microfilm but is that the end? 

The other day a couple from British Columbia came to our museum searching for family information. They had visited our cemetery and found a headstone. We brought out a handwritten Masonic registration book and found their relative. Then I pulled down a 1914 copy of our paper and found their ancestors: the exact date of the marriage, the church and minister. I pulled down a 1923 paper and found the report of the tragic death of their ancestors young son. The couple ran their hand across the page and moved a hundred years back, reading for the first time as did the family about the tragedy. 

There is not only a tactial quality to this gesture but a kind of warm sensation to know you are looking at the original within the context of the entire newspaper on that exact date. Certainly the couple could have eventually found the information on a vital statistics website, the dry facts only, but is that enough?

Monday, September 16

Post Office Donation

The Museum has just received a donation of items from the early post office including desk, weigh scale, brass letter slot and brass general delivery sign. The items were donated by Tim Bonish
through his father Peter Bonish. Prior to that they came from R.J. Gibson, grandfather on Tim's mother's side. Originally the items were used by Eustace E. Wallis postmaster from 1918 -1936.
We are fortunate to have such precious artifacts from our business community saved and passed down.
We are presently arranging the most appropriate way to display these and other post office items, that we have received over the years.

Monday, September 9

Sports in Cupar

This year our Culture Days will be held October 5th in conjunction with our annual Harvest Lunch.
This year we are featuring Sports over the history of Cupar from 1906 to the present.
Watch for posters.  Meanwhile here are the first references to hockey in the Cupar Herald for your

Saturday, August 31

Tour Shalom Residents

On August 30th eleven residents from Shalom, Cupar's nursing home, came for a tour of the museum. 
It was a mixed group of long term citizens and new arrivals, some who had never been to the museum.

As a result the tour provided an opportunity to search for donated family items and give us background information on them, or to view exhibits they had never seen. I always find the visits educational as I learn more stories behind our artifacts and the connection to our community.
Another part of the tour involved identifying what some items were used for. This always  sparks conversation and memories.

Refreshments and cookies were served as conversations continued. 
It was a pleasant 2 hour visit out of the heat of the day.
 Tour guides: Wes Elaine and Judy

Sunday, August 25

Strawberry Social

The Museum's Strawberry Social was held this year on the afternoon of August 24th at the same time as the Roughrider Eskimo game in Edmonton. The Social included strawberry shortcake, refreshments, music from a group from Semans, treasure hunt and face painting.

Thank you  to the volunteers who baked all the cakes and to the volunteers
who brought the residents over from Shalom.

Several people took the opportunity to have appropriate Rider Pride face paint.

Whenever a break was possible
from serving our guests
our volunteers gathered around
a radio
to keep up on the score.

  If any of you live in a bubble we won 30 to 27. Go Riders Go.

Wednesday, August 21

museum metal roof

We are pleased to have the remainder of the metal roof completed. We were also very fortunate to find a local company BTN Construction to complete the work. We had all hoped to have it done over the winter but it was one of those ghastly winters where all we had were enormous  snow drifts.



Thursday, July 18

Internet Browser Inequality

WARNING: Not all browsers for the internet are equal. This blogspot works best with Firefox and Safari. I recently discovered that if you use Internet Explorer you will miss information under the Research Page and About Blogger.

Monday, July 15

cupar museum raffle tickets

Wildlife artist Joan Pain of Saskatoon has kindly donated a Canada Goose print, limited edition #23 of 300. The print is matted and framed. Tickets are available from museum board members.  The draw will happen October 5th at the Harvest Lunch in Cupar.

Friday, July 12


I don't know whether I like or detest the phrase “BUCKET LIST”. I do think it is time to rethink the whole thing. It's not about me sky diving, climbing a mountain, white water rafting. It's about taking time to enjoy and explore some of the things close to home. Get an old fashioned paper map and a compass, you know from an old geometry set and draw a circle around where you live. One hour out, then go on a day trip. Pack a lunch and explore. Take a chance, live a little. Forget you GPS or the Apps that tell you the best place to go, just go. Later you could try a two hour trip. Don't forget to stop and explore all the little gems along the way. If you are feeling really brave try a sunrise to sunset tour.
I wonder how far out Ogema is, must check a map, I am sure I can make it back before dark.

Tuesday, June 18

Cupar School Visit

Last week Barb Bajak's grade 3 and 4 class, from the school in Cupar, came for a tour. All 23 of them.
They had just finished studying the unit on pioneers. Interestingly what drew their attention was the old school room, the rifle display and the hospital. In the photo they are all gathered around some intriguing object.

Friday, May 31

museum association meeting saskatoon

I wanted to share with you my thoughts and impressions on the 3 day Museums Association of Saskatchewan meetings held recently in Saskatoon. It is unfortunate that many people are unable to take time off work or if retired to take time away from their lives. Too often when we hear the word meeting or conference we think boring long lectures, being talked at, topics that don't apply to us. In reality we need to readjust our thought patterns. Think of it as a mini holiday from our lives whether working or retired. It is a time to refocus, to learn, to be inspired and to share. The joy is not knowing exactly how this will happen and staying open to the possibilites.
May 22 The Networks Meeting. Just over a year ago I had no idea what this meant. There are clusters of small museums all over the province that get together and share thoughts, experiences and plans. Twice a year each sends a representative to a larger meeting, unless there is a snow storm.
I did my prearranged duty: passed out Qu'Appelle Valley Network pamphlets, Cupar museum business card with our blogspot on it and mentioned the up coming Arceo Caravan coming though our area.
What left and impression on me: Langham's pamphlet and the thought that I must visit. My sister and I take day trips whenever I visit Saskatoon and love to visit small museums in the area. Gwen from Paradise Hills has been working on a book called Saskatchewan Women of Influence, years in the making, she inspired me with her dedication to a project, and I hope one day to get a better sense of it's development over time. I think it would be great to have in our museums along with the book Women Pioneers of Saskatchewan that the Saskatchewan Geneaological Society did.
Yes Virginia sometimes hyper active children become hyper active adults. No, no more coffee for me. Maybe I should just put my head on the table, or do you have some duck tape for my mouth.
May 23 Symposium on Sustainabilty. That made me curious. What am I going to learn that applies to me and my community? Then I read the background information and thought, oh no, “role playing” and “stakeholders”. Someone is going to suffer and its not going to be me. I'll adjust the chip on my shoulder to confrontational mode. Take my preconceptions and run with it. ....... Whoops I enjoyed myself immensely. The morning session: Marni started with relaxation exercises, I'm going to hate this, what a wonderful positive person, very soothing, very loving, very genuine. I'll just go with it. What have I got to lose other than a bad attitude. Marni's power point presentation on the Rainbow Gallery and Noah's Ark set the mood. The idea of creating an experience and of participatory inspired me. I really enjoyed the exercise where we took a non descript object and in 60 seconds explained it to our partner. It made me focus and consider memory and significance that a simple object possesses and create an emotional attachment. When we returned to our tables we all took time to share more insights into the exercise. The other exercise I enjoyed was when each table got a box of discards and we built a place. We were inspired by the reading of a book called The Tin Forest. ( I think the name is right ) It was play time for adults, opening up to creativity without worrying about whether the end product would be acceptable. It was the process of creating that was fun, things evolved, we weren't really sure what our plan was, it just went along until we discovered it.
Okay so I really enjoyed the morning but I'm probably going to hate the afternoon with Glen and “roleplaying”. Nothing sets the mood more than a large white sheet of paper that we can all call out community and personal concerns. Not so different regardless of the size of our community. It helped us to prepare to move away from the hurdles we all confront. I was apprehensive about taking on a “role” in a community of 800,000. Too many problems, too big a place. Amazingly we focused as a group on one main issue the museum could address and went with it. We focused on what brought us together not what drove us apart. I thought after what a good exercise, we don't have to do it all, just start somewhere, make a contribution. We really could make a difference. We as a museum were not working in isolation from the community but with the community for economic, environmental, and cultural benefit.

May 24 the dreaded but necessary annual meeting. Misconception. Actually I found that the 3 annual meetings I have attended are focused, to the point and do not meander aimlessly. The members forum in the morning allows for feedback from the various museums, critical to the functioning of the association in determining it's direction. I enjoyed the afternoon's presentations. Dean's Looking in the Mirror made me think more about that time when most of us will clear out our parents possessions.
Will we discard things as useless or take the opportunity to learn about their lives. Glen's presentation on ecomuseums cleared up some misconceptions I had, and made me think about the possibilities.
Museums are not a building one goes to, isolated from the community, museums are an intregal part of the community. We must beware that we do not become irrelevant. Our role is more than just preserving the past, but giving us a sense of place in the present and the future to all our residents. Key word inclusive not exclusive.

Inbetween it all are those brief but focused individual conversations, sometimes outside while we share a common hobby as Dean said. One of these brief conversations was with Stephanie from Swift Current, the site for next year's conference. It sounds like an exciting time. Museums are not dusty places of faded photographs and discarded curiousities, but a living evolving organism, an intregal part of the community. For an individual , conferences can be a great way to re-energize ones batteries. Now how is that for a pep talk from a hyper active slightly confrontational retiree.

Monday, May 13

Qu'Appelle Valley Network

The Qu'Appelle Network meeting was held May 11 at the train station / tourist information center in Fort Qu'Appelle. This was only my second meeting but I enjoyed it greatly. The Network has just produced a pamphlet for member museums, a calendar of events is enclosed and can be easily updated as needed. The pamphlet allows visitors to contemplate and plan day trips along this string of museums. Each one has their own focus and unique approach according to the community. Don't forget Dysart, not in the pamphlet, but in the process of joining the Network.

I also enjoy hearing activity reports by each of the museums, the variety of events and commitment of the volunteers is inspiring.
Each of the bi-annual network meeting has an educational component. This time May-Lin Polk from the Museums Association of Saskatchewan gave an informative presentation on copyright laws and how they apply to museums. Hopefully we will all share this with our home communities.
The next meeting is scheduled for October 5 in Grenfell.

Friday, May 3

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society

I had the opportunity to attend the Saskatchewan Genealogical annual meeting in Saskatoon on April 27. It made me realize the value of being a member and how well it aligns itself with my interests in our museum.

A fellow named Merv Weiss gave an excellent presentation called “ Finding Lost Cousins in Europe”. I assumed it would be in the 1800's, but actually at the time of WWII. Instead of searching for existing stories, he searched family who remained behind and once found they recorded their stories of that time period. Perhaps if he had not pursued them their stories might never be told.

Finn Anderson of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society gave a power point presentation on a portion of Evertt Baker photo collection, mainly from the 1940's. A valuable resource and “snapshot “ of our time.

Did you know SGS was formed in 1969, that 35% of total membership live in rural Saskatchewan, that they are the second largest genealogical society in Canada.

Did you know that with a SGS value added membership you have access to family search websites like ancestry, find my past, world vital records, godfrey memorial library. There is also an excellent library at the SGS office in Regina. Check out their website at www.saskgenealogy.com

Wednesday, April 24

war tax & income tax

Seems like an appropriate time of year to bring this up. Did you know in 1918 a war tax came in to help finance the war. The Cupar Herald March 14 1918

The Cupar Herald March 21 1918 calls it income tax something that has never left us.

Sunday, March 24

Flooding not New

Found this article in the Cupar Herald dated 12 April 1917.  Seemed appropriate for all of us.

Tuesday, March 19

Chevy Truck Then and Now

The Chevy Truck assembled at the GM plant in Regina in 1940 is one of the museum's prize possessions.  After many months of volunteer labour to restore, including finding missing parts, putting the vehicle in good running condition and a fantastic paint job, it has returned to the museum premises.

We thank Allan Bonish of the Cupar District for his dedication to this project.
He was assisted by Jim Adam from the museum board.

The next step in the process will be to build a box for the truck.
The truck will be a feature of the museum in parades
 and other activities in the area we hope for many years to come.

Wednesday, March 13


On behalf of the Museum Board I would like to thank Sask Culture for awarding us a SaskCulture Museum Grant for 2013. Our Board and our many volunteers have spent countless hours in meetings, assisting with programming, fundraising , communication, research, social events, and up keep of our building and grounds. These monies are greatly appreciated and will be well used.
We also realize that SaskCulture support is also assisted by
 Saskatchewan Lotteries. Thank you.