Exhibit captures Alberta history

History traveled to Ponoka and parked itself at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex on Aug. 8 to 10. The UFA History in Motion Exhibit made the town one of its stops on its tour around Alberta. The exhibit featured the role the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) had throughout the years dating back to its inception in 1909.

Stephanie Benger, exhibit interpreter, spent her time answering questions, listening to stories and educating those interested in the rich history.

The UFA will be approaching its centennial year in 2009 and Benger, along with showing the exhibit, is preparing for the 100 year celebration by encouraging people to tell their stories and memories of UFA in their lives and community as well as bringing in items related to UFA.

“Wherever I go, I try to put out feelers for artifacts and stories from each town I visit,” said Benger. “About every place I have gone I have been told many stories and people have said that they have artifacts to contribute.”

As part of the centennial festivities the exhibit will be revamped and will be housed and featured for three months at the Provincial Archives of Alberta in Edmonton.

Benger believes that the photos, stories and objects contributed by members of the province will bring hometown pride to the individuals that come to view the exhibit.

“I think there will be a personal connection for people when they see artifacts from their own town,” she said.

The UFA History in Motion Traveling Exhibit featured photos and information on the walls including facts on the founder, James Brower, and separate displays set up in the centre.

The displays featured artifacts and writeups explaining them showing UFA sponsored events, past and present, in the rural communities. The different products offered from UFA throughout history were also shown including the purchase of Maple Leaf Petroleum in 1957 guaranteeing oil distribution to its members.

John Ewashko was one of the visitors to the exhibit over the weekend and shared some stories of the past. Ewashko was not a first time visitor to the museum but said he still learned something new by observing it again.

“I have seen this exhibit before,” said Ewashko. “I did not know that the UFA had competition when starting up. I’m glad that it did form and that they are still in business.”

The exhibit shone light on the UFA’s role in the challenges and happenings that were brought with the years including their promotion of women’s rights and the difference they made during the Great Depression. The most notable event to take place in UFA history was their move to assume full control of Alberta’s natural resources from the federal government in 1928.

The UFA History in Motion Traveling Exhibit will be heading next to the Fort Nelson Rodeo Grounds on Aug. 16 and 17.

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