Claresholm museum to launch UFA women in agriculture exhibit

A bust of Louise McKinney will be part of a new exhibit honouring women in Alberta agriculture at the Claresholm & District Museum, the trailblazing head of the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) told The Homestretch.

McKinney, one of the Famous Five women who led to the suffrage movement in Canada, was elected to the Alberta legislature in 1917 representing Claresholm.

Carol Kitchen, the CEO of the United Farmers of Alberta, says the exhibit will honour the contribution of women to the agriculture sector. It’s set to open next year,  thanks to a provincial tourism grant.

Kitchen is a bit of a pioneer herself, being the first woman to head a North American agricultural co-operative.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. You can listen to the complete interview here.

Carol Kitchen, UFA president and CEO, says a new Claresholm museum exhibit will honour the contribution made by women to the Alberta agriculture sector. It’s set to open next year. (Submitted)

Q: Please describe the new exhibit.

A: It will be interactive and digital. People will have the opportunity to learn about women in Alberta agriculture with a focus on the Famous Five, given that Louise McKinney is from Claresholm. It’s to help them understand the role women have played in rural Alberta over time.

It’s a self-guided, computer-driven exhibit and a bust of Louise McKinney.

Q: Why is it important?

It’s about recognizing that [both] women and men have built the agriculture industry in Alberta. These women were part of UFA early in its history. They led a very important [initiative] to get the right to vote for all of us, so it’s very important.

Q: The exhibit will include other trailblazers like Irene Parlby?

A: She was one of the first organizers of the women’s section of the United Farmers of Alberta in the early 1900s. She travelled around a lot to talk to farmers and get them organized around things like health care and support for women.

The story goes that she was going to a meeting and she was late. The weather was pretty bad. They waited for her until 11 p.m. to have that meeting.

I often say I don’t think farmers would wait for me to come to a meeting at 11 p.m.

Q: What challenges did women face at the time?

A: It’s a pretty tough life.

Travelling rural Alberta today in the winter time in an SUV or a vehicle is certainly no fun, but in a horse and carriage or sleigh, these women were tough and hardy stock. Everybody was, at that point.

This exhibit recognizes the kind of people it took to start this industry and really settle Alberta. UFA is part of that and that’s why we wanted to recognize these women.

Q: You are the first woman to lead an agricultural co-operative in North America, how far have women come since the days of Louise McKinney?

A: In some ways, it’s a long way, in other ways, it’s not.

It’s quite inspiring to me that they were in front of a very diverse set of people in Alberta, who in some cases didn’t speak the same language.

They didn’t come from the same backgrounds, they moved here for a variety of reasons and they were trying to make their own lives in a hard place.

Those women were out there talking to them and trying to get them to work together. Women have come a long way in this industry and we have to continue to do that.

Women do the books, women feed calves, women drive combines and tractors just like everybody else does.

It is a business that is a family endeavour and that hasn’t changed, and I honestly don’t think that’s going to change for a long time.

Q: What is the provincial grant going to mean?

A: It’s Tourism Alberta recognizing that agriculture and women, in particular, are really the fabric of what this province was built on.

It’s on the main route between Calgary and southern Alberta, so I think it’s a nice place for people to stop in and learn and recognize that this is one of the places that these really people came from.

The United Farmer’s Historical Society is contributing to the exhibit, which is expected to open in 2019 and provincial tourism grant is $8,000.

In 1917, Louise McKinney became the first woman elected to a legislature in the British Commonwealth. She was also one of the Famous Five women who led the suffrage movement in Canada. Mckinney was from Claresholm, in southern Alberta. Now, her legacy will be honoured, along with the contributions of other local farm women, in a new exhibit at the Claresholm and District Museum. The United Farmers Historical Society received a tourism grant from the province this week. Carol Kitchen heads the society and is a trailblazer herself. She’s the first female president and CEO of an agricultural cooperative in North America. She spoke with host Doug Dirks. 7:49

With files from The Homestretch.

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2018-09-10 15:37:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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