Museum Alive! Open House
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Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre Celebrates One Millionth Visitor

Yellowknife (May 24, 2012) – Ten days after its 33rd anniversary, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) celebrated its one millionth visitor, who entered the building during a public program organized by Ecology North on the morning of April 26, 2012.

The millionth visitor was Starr McLachlan, who visited the PWNHC with her year-old daughter, Ula, newborn son, Stig, and mother-in-law, Ann McLachlan. They were participating in the Eco Mamas and Papas event, one of the family-oriented Earth Week activities hosted at the museum by Ecology North. The PWNHC provides space for community participation in a wide range of events and activities related to the arts, culture and heritage of the NWT.“I am thrilled to learn the one millionth visitor was the mother of a young family interested in learning more about the natural and cultural heritage of the north,” says Jackson Lafferty, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. “It is especially significant that this happened during an event hosted by one of our community partners who share the value of public education with the outreach programming objectives of the Northern Heritage Centre.”

The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre opened on April 16, 1979, with just over 14,000 visitors during the first year of operation. Over the past decade, the museum has earned a reputation as one of the top tourism destinations in the Northwest Territories. Annual visitation has increased to approximately 35,000 yearly visitors from all NWT communities and over 25 countries. Visitor statistics are compiled daily by security staff.

Starr is a true northerner who was born in Inuvik and grew up in Tsiigehtchic, Kugluktuk, Fort Smith, Pine Point and Yellowknife. She currently lives in Yellowknife with her family, and visiting the museum has been a family affair for as long as she can remember. As a young girl she remembers being a regular at the PWNHC’s Amazing Family Sundays events along with her sisters Ella and Cleo and her mom, Karin.

To celebrate and recognize Starr as the PWNHC’s one millionth visitor, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment will honour her at a later date with a museum plaque and a culturally appropriate gift, a Dene baby belt, handcrafted in the NWT with moosehide, canvas, beads and stroud. The gift symbolizes the importance of family and the strong bond between parents and babies.

For more information, please contact:

Ashley Green
Public Affairs Officer
Education, Culture and Employment
Phone: (867) 920-3059
Email: ashley_green@gov.nt.ca

Museum Alive! Open House
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Seventh book released in The Land is Our Storybook series

Yellowknife (March 23, 2012) – At the Heart of It, the seventh book in The Land is Our Storybook series, was launched at the Prince Of Wales Northern Heritage Centre with authors Mindy Willett and Raymond Taniton.

The Land is Our Storybook series includes books for children that feature stories and culture from each of the traditional language groups in the Northwest Territories. Yellowknifer Mindy Willett has worked with storytellers, Elders and cultural leaders in communities across the Northwest Territories, as well as photographer Tessa MacIntosh, highlighting richly textured pictures of life in the North today. At the Heart of It was produced with former Grand Chief Raymond Taniton, and tells the story of the Sahtugot’ine, the people of Great Bear Lake.“Ms. Willett and her co-authors have produced a tremendous series of books for children that showcase the Aboriginal cultural groups of the Northwest Territories,” said the Honourable Jackson Lafferty, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

“Projects of this nature help revitalize our many languages and cultures, and contribute to our efforts to maintain and preserve our traditional lifestyles for future generations.”

At the Heart of It is available in the Yellowknife Book Cellar, along with the other books in the series.

For more information, please contact:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Manager, Public Affairs
Education, Culture and Employment
Phone: (867) 920-6222
Email: Jacqueline_mckinnon@gov.nt.ca

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Museum reopens to public, café closed until further notice

Yellowknife (January 23, 2012) – The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) reopened its doors to the public on Saturday. A chimney fire damaged a small area inside the building on Boxing Day.

“Our fire recovery teams and the Department of Public Works and Services technical services teams worked diligently to ensure we identified and cleaned all of the affected areas to the highest safety standards before we reopened to the public,” said Barb Cameron, Director of PWNHC. “We are extremely pleased with the thorough job everyone has done during this whole process, and invite people to come for a visit.”The Museum Café was the area most affected by the chimney fire, and is still under construction. The Café kitchen has a new wall and door separating the construction area from the rest of the museum, and will remain closed until further notice.

The first step towards normal operation began January 5, with the reopening of the NWT Archives, and this past weekend’s opening marks a return to regular hours for the public to visit the galleries and exhibits. The Museum is open daily from 10:30 to 5:00pm.

Visit the Museum website and Facebook page for regular updates.

For more information, contact:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Manager, Public Affairs
Education, Culture and Employment
P. (867)920-6222
E. jacqueline_mckinnon@gov.nt.ca

Museum Alive! Open House
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Museum reopens NWT Archives, cleanup continues after fire

Yellowknife (January 6, 2012) – The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) reopened the NWT Archives yesterday after a chimney fire damaged a small area inside the building on Boxing Day.

Detected early in the morning on December 26, the fire was found in and around the chimney, resulting in damage to the mechanical and kitchen areas. The Fire Department responded immediately and contained the fire, lessening the impact to the rest of the Museum. The majority of the fire damage was limited to the Museum Café kitchen. Fire recovery teams have been working long days to ensure a comprehensive cleanup and that all affected areas are identified, from the basement to the roof. The exact cause of the fire is still unknown, pending further investigation.All of the collections, artifacts, exhibits and climate controlled environments were undamaged and remain intact.

“We are very lucky that the fire was contained so quickly,” said Barb Cameron, Director of PWNHC. “The response time from the fire department, the diligence of the fire recovery teams, and all of the people working to help us have all made a very difficult situation much easier. We thank them, and will open our doors to the public when the building is ready.”

While the Fire Department made an initial estimate of the damage, an assessment is ongoing to identify the full cost of the damage.

The first step towards normal operation begins Thursday, January 5, with the reopening of the NWT Archives for regular hours: 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. Anyone visiting the Archives must sign in at the front desk, and access will be restricted to the Archives Reading Room and the washroom facilities. All other areas of the PWNHC will be closed until further notice.

The Archives houses the history of the NWT for safekeeping, including the oral tradition and history of NWT Aboriginal peoples, constitutional development in the NWT leading up to the creation of Nunavut, the activities of the Government of the Northwest Territories since 1967, the fur trade, aviation industry and the development of the mining industry.

Visit the museum website for regular updates.

For more information, contact:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Manager, Public Affairs
Education, Culture and Employment
(867)920-6222

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Governor General of Canada to Open New Exhibit at Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre

Yellowknife (Dec. 8, 2011) – Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will be at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre today to open the Hunters of the Alpine Ice exhibit.

The exhibit opening will occur as part of Their Excellencies’ official visit to the Northwest Territories from December 7-11. This is their first official visit to the NWT since His Excellency’s swearing-in as Canada’s 28th Governor General in October 2010 and will include Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation.“I am thrilled to have the Governor General of Canada experience some of our Northern lifestyle and culture,” said the Honourable Jackson Lafferty, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. “To have Their Excellencies open this exhibit at our museum is tremendous, and provides the opportunity for us to share a piece of important cultural history with them.”

Archaeologists from the museum worked with Tulita elders to document high alpine ice patches that have been used by Shut’aot’ine, or Mountain Dene hunters, for thousands of years. While hunting caribou on the ice patches, hunters left behind parts of their hunting equipment, which were preserved in the ice for hundreds of years. This ice is now melting, exposing the fragile artifacts to the elements and putting them at risk of destruction. The work is critical, and the team must visit the sites each year to monitor them for new discoveries.

Hunters of the Alpine Ice opens at 3:00pm in the Museum Café. A public presentation on the NWT Ice Patch Study will be held at 7:00pm on December 8th in the museum auditorium.

For more information, please contact:

Jacqueline McKinnon
Manager, Public Affairs
Education, Culture and Employment
Phone: (867) 920-6222
Email: jacqueline_mckinnon@gov.nt.ca

Barb Cameron
Director
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Phone: (867) 873-7551
Email: barb_cameron@gov.nt.ca