Community History

The ordinary and the extraordinary lives of southern Albertans (1880-1970), in all their ethnic diversity, are captured in this collection:

Glenbow's community history collections also house important collections from the Doukhobor and Hutterite communities, the Alberta ceramic industry (Medalta pottery), and the Calgary Stampede. It also includes special collections such as material from the Arctic search for Sir John Franklin and exquisite objects crafted for the nineteenth century Russian Court.

Work and Industry: From Ranching to Mining to Painting

Work and Industry

Alberta's rich natural resources — oil, agricultural land, incredible scenery, and more have provided work for Albertans for over a century. This collection contains a selection of the tools and equipment used to make a living on the ranch and farm, the railway, the coal mine, the oil rig, the artist's studio, the business office, and much more.

Work and Industry Highlights

Leisure and Play

This collection reflects the wide variety of ways that Albertans relax and play. Handmade toys, elegant dolls, and whimsical games share space with equipment for mountaineering, team sports, and rodeo — something to fit almost everyone's sense of self and play.

Leisure and Play Highlights

Daily Life

The things Albertans needed every day are found in this area of the collection. Clothing (from a 1870s boy's dress to 1970s hot pants), personal accessories (from elegant cigarette holders to 1990s teenager's jewellery), furniture and furnishings (from specialized baby furniture to imaginative quilts and coverlets) — almost everything can be found in this collection, including the kitchen sink.

Daily Life Highlights

Community and Ceremonial Life

The Community Life collection features major social institutions serving the West (government and mainstream politics, education, religion, and support organizations), and activist groups, causes, and movements, including western alienation, women's rights, minority rights, politics, labour, and the environment. The ceremonial life collection reflects forms of ritual and ceremony, including rites of passage marking births, weddings, funerals, religious observances, festive celebrations, fraternal society regalia, and cultural, social, and political events.

Community and Ceremonial Life Highlights

Ethnic Cultures

This collection reflects immigration and ethnicity, cultural identity, tradition and change in culturally diverse Alberta and the West. Clothing and objects used to make music, furnish homes, prepare food, raise children, celebrate events, and more are associated with over 50 ethnic, religious, language and cultural communities from Europe, Asia, British Isles, and elsewhere in North America. Especially strong are the Hutterite and Doukhobor collections.

Ethnic Cultures Highlights

Special Collections

International collections are drawn from the arts and folk traditions of Europe and Asia, highlighting exquisite Eastern European and Chinese costumes and textiles, and eclectic creations by master crafts persons in ceramic, metal, paper, and wood. Arctic exploration and the search for Franklin are featured in objects recovered from McClintock's and other nineteenth century cache sites. Numismatics features coinage and paper currency of colonial and post-confederation Canada and the Commonwealth and Canadian medallic arts.

Special Collections Highlights

Search the Collections

If you already know which area of the collections you would like to search, select the database from the drop-down menu below. To find out which areas of the collection are searchable online and how to search the collections, click here.


Glenbow
130 9th Ave S.E.
Calgary, AB T2G 0P3

Located in the heart of the Calgary downtown core between Stephen Avenue and the Olympic Plaza
Cultural District.

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