Manitoba Historical Society
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Honorary Secretary’s Report, Annual Meeting

by Professor A. R. Kear

MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 33, 1976-77 season

This article was published originally in MHS Transactions by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

This online version was prepared using Optical Character Recognition software so that spelling and punctuation errors may have occurred inadvertently. If you find any such errors, please inform us, indicating the document name and error.

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The Manitoba Historical Society has operated by accepted patterns, having both successes and weaknesses during 1976-77. These meetings with speakers, were held:

October 19: Film Night: "The Magnificent Gift" and one other film was shown.

December 14: Joint Meeting with the Jewish Historical Society of Western Canada. Ms. Roz Usiskin "The Winnipeg Jewish Community: It's Radical Elements."

January 15: Sir John A. Macdonald Anniversary Dinner. Omer Lavallee, Corporate Archivist for the Canadian Pacific Limited on "A Railway Officer in Winnipeg 1882-1886: John M. Egan, General Superintendent of the C.P.R."

February 15: Dr. Jonathan Wagner "A Nazi Newspaper in Winnipeg: Deutsche Zeitung fur Canada"

March 22: Dr. Tim Ball "As Cold as I Have Ever Been" Climate Change in Manitoba during the last 250 years.

April 19: Rev. R. L. Taylor "An Illustrated Lecture about Her Majesty's British North American Boundary Commission" based on the letters of Charles Sibbald.

May 12: The Annual Meeting Dinner: Dr. William Ready "The Two Technologies"

The 1976 annual dinner, attended by 425 people, heard Mr. Pierre Berton. He was accompanied by the Governors of Heritage Canada. Members received 10 Newsletters, and 4 Manitoba Pageants. No Transactions were published. Mrs. Linda McDowell is editing the 1973-74 Transactions. Local History in Manitoba: A Key to Places, Districts, Schools and Transport Routes, was published by the History Committee. Winnipeg's Historic Warehouse Area, Its Revitalization Through Conservation, a Report prepared for Heritage Canada and the Manitoba Historical Society, May, 1976, was coordinated by Prof. William P. Thompson, Honorary Treasurer.

The June, 1976 Field Trip tour to Pine Falls and Pinawa included a tour of the Manitoba Paper Company Ltd. plant at Pine Falls and a tour of the Atomic Energy Plant at Pinawa. Brief stops were made at Seven Sisters Falls and the Grotto and Cathedral at Cooks Creek. In September 1976 The International Peace Gardens, Boissevain, The Beckoning Hills Museum, and the J. A. Victor David Museum at Killarney were visited by 59 people, including some members of the Red River Valley Historical Society. In June, 1977 there will be a field trip to Carman, Miami, Glenboro and Westbourne where the Central Plains Historical Society will be the host.

The Governing Council met twice, once informally and then at Dalnavert, March 3. Plans are being made for a Council meeting in Brandon in the fall. The Executive met many times. Being faced with two Executive resignations, amendments are proposed to the Articles of the Constition to enable the Executive to temporarily appoint people to the Council and Executive, such appointments subject to ratification at the next annual general meeting.

Membership has declined steadily over the past 5 years:









(to June 30)

(to May 3)

What is needed is an effective membership drive, using the booklet being prepared and sparked by either a vice-president or by a membership committee. A career Executive Director would be most helpful for the membership drive amongst libraries, businesses, unions, co-operatives, voluntary bodies, and beyond the fifteen schools currently enrolled. History departments, as departments, amongst Manitoba's four Universities, and three community colleges should be encouraged to join. There are fourteen local chapters in the province.

La Societe Historique de Saint-Boniface has been a member since 1954. In 1975 the Manitoba Historical Society became a member of La Societe Historique de Saint-Boniface. Dr. Shaw, then M.H.S. President, presented a paper in 1975 en francais to a joint meeting with simultaneous translation. Inter-social relations have steadily improved. Monsieur Gerard Lagace, their president, has attended our functions as liaison person. Their activities are published in our Newsletter. A joint membership list is being prepared. Mr. David McDowell, M.H.S. president, addressed their 1976 annual meeting en francais at which time a resolution was adopted establishing relations of independent equality between our two historical societies. Their 75th anniversary is in 1977-78, during which a joint meeting is being planned. Our mutual approach is to improve inter-cultural understandings of Manitoba's history.

The Dalnavert-Macdonald House Committee operates an extensive program: A spring and fall lecture series was held covering subjects on "Textiles and Lace," to "Silver Patterns," "Boxes," "Victorian Furniture," "Photography," etc. High school and grade school programs were enjoyed by the participating students. A film night was presented in November at which 100 people attended. A sale of antiques, collectibles and gifts was presented in November with another one planned for May 14th. Displays such as "Eggs and Things," "Moustache Cups," and "Fans" and "C.P.R. Silver" were on view. There is a staff of 3 as well as the summer guides. The museum has been open for approximately 276 days during 1976 and during this time since April 1, 1976, 8,018 visitors and 1,242 school tours have visited. The facilities are open for any club, church group, or organization that wishes to book the use of the attic area as a special meeting place for a fee. Admissions are: Adults $1.00; students (13-17) $0.75; and children (12 and under) $0.25.

We hope the Macdonald House Completion Fund will enable us to finish paying for the house soon.

Ross House, with a curator for 6 weeks during the past summer had approximately 131 visitors and 35 students.

The Centennial Memorial Fund, created to receive donations, bequests from wills, etc. needs money, from which the revenues so earned is used for operations. The larger this Fund the more independent the M.H.S. becomes.

We hope to report the receipt of the Manitoba Government's grant by the Annual General Meeting. A grant from the Mrs. James A. Richardson Foundation has been received for the proposed walking architectural tours of Winnipeg and Saint-Boniface during the summer.

Having had an Executive-Director from 1968-72, and then from 1974-76, when Mr. Gordon Curll resigned, but to remain on a part time basis, the M.H.S. has limped along for too long. I strongly recommend a career executive director be hired as soon as possible who will provide the administrative leadership needed to promote Manitoba's history, if the M.H.S. is to become healthy and growing.

During periods when there is no executive director, Miss Areen Mulder's duties are increased, placing unfair duties upon a loyal staff member.

As for the future, I recommend a career executive director, an effective membership drive, and increased efforts to become financially independent.

Page revised: 22 May 2010

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