Museum adds new piece to antique collection

·4 min read

OAK RIVER — The Clack Family Heritage Museum has added another diamond to its collection of antiques documenting the history of life on the Prairies.

The latest addition to the museum is a threshing machine that arrived on the homestead in July, said museum board director Maxine Shamray.

“It was something we felt we should have along with the older machinery,” Shamray said.

The board saw an advertisement for the thresher and knew it would be the perfect addition to the museum’s collection of early farm equipment.

The threshing machine was purchased and transported to the homestead from Kenton. It was moved to the museum by Mark Gill, Dick Heapy and Brian Burt. Shamray said the museum board is grateful for the time and money the group put into moving the machine to its new home.

The thresher was operational three years ago and it proved to be a popular attraction at the farmyard where it was located.

“We thought maybe it might be a drawing card here as well and get people coming to the museum to see it,” Shamray said. “We have one individual on the board that’s maybe going to try and get it running, but that’s down the road.”

The threshing machine complements the other antique machinery at the Clack Family Museum, she added. It has been carefully placed among a collection of farming instruments that date back to the early days of farming on the Prairies.

The goal of the museum board is to eventually move the thresher inside to help preserve it, Shamray said.

It was important to help people connect with a piece of history, said museum board member Marg Burt said. She added for older generations in the area when they visit the collections at the museum the antiques often bring back memories of life on the farm.

The board hopes the antiques spark conversations between visitors, allowing people to talk about what they remember when looking at the different items located at the museum.

The Clack Family Heritage Museum features a collection of antiques amassed by three brothers — Tim, Doug and Fred Clack. The three collected different items based on their interests and amassed a rich collection of antiques and creations of interest documenting Prairie life and Canadian culture. The collection includes everything from antique dishes and household items, to automobiles and folk art, classic instruments and music collections, sports equipment and everything in between carefully stored on their farm.

“They were always purchasing [items],” Burt said with a grin. “Our visitors can spend two or three hours and they still don’t see everything.”

The family collection began around the 1960s after they moved to the farmhouse in 1959, Shamray said. She added the antique collection continued to grow over time.

The museum has about 20 buildings on-site, with each space featuring a specific theme.

Burt added visitors will often make return trips to continue exploring the museum because they can’t see everything in one visit.

In 1996, Tim, the last living brother, turned the collection over to the volunteer Clack Family Heritage Museum Foundation board. He served as chair of the board until he died in 2014.

The museum foundation is currently working on upgrades to its current space. The board has removed about four to five inches of dirt and replaced it with gravel to better protect the sheds housing antiques. This work will eventually lead to the creation of a new car shed at the site.

They are also working to create a horse shed documenting everything equine, Shamray said. The horse shed was installed in the last year using grants and will include any horse-related items.

“I think it will be great,” Shamray said. “When you get things moved around, it gives it a new face.”

The museum is a continuous project, Burt added, and there is no end to the work going on to enhance the space for visitors and acquire new antiques to view.

It has been a long two years of COVID-19 closures at the museum, she added, and the board is excited to once again welcome the public back for visits.

The museum is open to visitors in July and August, Wednesday to Sunday. Visits are also available outside these months by appointment. Guests must be fully vaccinated to visit the museum.

If you would like to contact the museum, leave a message via phone or text at 431-270-0014, 204-303-0014 or 204-412-1555.

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Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun

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