Manitoba Historical Society
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Honorary Secretary's Report, Annual Meeting

by Professor A. R. Kear

MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 34, 1977-78 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 As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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This, my second report, will indicate improvements in the Society's operations during the past year.

The following meetings, with speakers, were held:

October 18: The film "On to the Bay" which included interviews with Major J. L. Charles

November 16: Dr. Conrad Swan "Symbols of Canadian Sovereignty"

December 6: Herbert W. Blake "Electric Light Comes to Winnipeg"

January 21: Gerald W. Malaher "Remote Manitoba - Recollections of the North since the 1920s"

February 21: Two Films (British) on Heritage: "A Future for the Past" and "Caring for History"

March 21: Dr. Frits Pannekoek "Louis Riel in the Red River Settlement"

April 18: Judge Roy St. George Stubbs "Thomas Mayne Daly" and today, May 13: Dr. Alan Cooke "False Modesty is Better than None - Vilhjalmur Stefansson 1879-1962"

There was a formal and an informal meeting of the general council. The all day workshop on Saturday, September 17, 1977, resulted in many ideas advanced for the Society's centennial celebrations in 1979. These ideas were published in the Newsletter and a planning committee has been set up. The formal council meeting met on January 12th, 1978. One meeting of the council should be held outside Winnipeg to encourage our local chapters to participate in the governing of the Society.

News and notices of meetings from chapters throughout Manitoba were carried in the ten issues of the Newsletter, including the general council's structure and membership. Notices of local histories and other historical publications are published in each issue. Transactions, Series III Number 30 for the years 1973-74, edited by Linda McDowell, was issued to members during December, 1977. Mrs. McDowell will edit Number 31 and Ms. Joy Cooper will become editor for Numbers 32 and 33. Four issues of Manitoba Pageant were issued. Winnipeg's Historic Warehouse Area, a report, was reprinted.

The Society helped sponsor the Third North American Fur Trade Conference held May 4-6, 1978. The Society co-operated with the Midwestern Rail Association for the Countess of Dufferin Centennial weekend of October 8-9, 1977.

The June 18, 1977, field trip included the Dufferin Museum at Carman, the railway and local museum at Miami, the Greenway village marker, and sites in the vicinity of Westbourne. Forty-two participated. The September 24th field trip included the Manitoba Agricultural Museum at Austin and the Fort La Reine Museum and Pioneer Village at Portage la Prairie. Twenty-six participated. A field trip to Fort St. Charles, in the Lake of the Woods, where Pere Aulneau and Jean-Baptiste La Verendrye died, is scheduled for June 24th and 25th, this year.

The Society co-operated with the annual convention of the Canadian Teachers of English on August 2nd, 1977, with a walking tour of Winnipeg.

Relations with la Societe Historique de Saint-Boniface continue to improve. We publish their meetings in the Newsletter, and some of their members attend our meetings. A joint membership arrangement would further this relationship. Our secretary-treasurer, Prof. Gerald Friesen, became an executive member of la Societe Historique de Saint-Boniface.

President McDowell and the executive-director, Mrs. Malaher, travelled outside Winnipeg to visit local chapters and assist in local chapter activities.

Dalnavert was the scene of fall and spring lecture series, each consisting of six lectures, with an average participation of 22. Approximately 150 people attended each series. Several displays were presented including one on British Silver Flatware and toys of the Victorian period, railway silver and a caster display. A Dalnavert Guild has been established under the general structure of the Society. The debt on Dalnavert is now less than $10,000.00.

Ross House was open again for visitors with the full time guide on a local employment grant. The museum was open for 58 days and had a total of 646 visitors. Professor Allen Kear represented the society at the Peguis Day ceremonies on Sunday, June 19, 1977, at St. Peter's Dynevor.

The Centennial Memorial Trust Fund, which received donations, bequests from wills, etc., will provide revenues for the Society's operations. The larger the revenue generated the more financially independent the Society becomes. A committee of the general council should be established to encourage donations to the Centennial Memorial Fund.

A walking tour booklet of notable architectural sites in the warehouse district is in the process of being prepared by Ms. Claudia Engel.

The Historic Buildings Action Fund held several meetings and is planning assistance with renovations in the warehouse area.

An amendment to the Constitution was adopted at the 1977 annual general meeting to enable the executive to co-opt members to replace a resigning executive member until ratification at the next annual general meeting.

Lord Selkirk's grave in France has been restored by the Aquitaine Company of Calgary, thanks in part to an article by Dr. Hubert Mayes in The Beaver. On August 24, 1978 a monument unveiling is planned in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, in honor of Lord Selkirk.

A membership campaign committee under the leadership of Mrs. Margaret Carter was launched, with 76 new members being recruited. With membership rising from 711 to 716, increased efforts will be needed because of non renewals. This committee has also been responsible for wider advertisement of the Society's meetings and activities in the local media. Members suggesting potential members should give names to the membership committee for attention. It is hoped that a wide net is cast for members amongst all social and economic classes in the province.

Nine monthly executive meetings were held. At the last executive meeting it was decided that a general council committee should be created to study the special activities and a possible junior historians' section to encourage our youth to engage in historical activities. This suggestion arose out of the Winnipeg Buildings in Context program carried out at Dalnavert for young people.

Mrs. Rosemary Malaher became our executive director. Her competence is much appreciated by the executive. Miss Areen Mulder continues her good work as our office secretary.

With the provincial government's policy of financial restraint more attention must be paid to making the Manitoba Historical Society financially self-supporting.

Page revised: 22 May 2010

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