Moose Jaw’s Western Development Museum was recently the recipient of the 2023 Heritage Saskatchewan Award for Living Heritage. 

The museum was awarded for its Heritage Presentation Series with the Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Telephone program. 

“This is something that we’ve been a partner with the Senior Centre Without Walls program since October of 2020 and it was initially supposed to be a one-off contribution, but the participants on the phone program enjoyed it so much I was asked to come back as a monthly regular,” said Western Development Museum programs manager Karla Rasmussen. 

The Living Heritage award is given out to a program or project that teaches intangible cultural heritage knowledge and skills while improving one’s quality of life. 

The Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Telephone Program engages seniors 55-plus in activities and conversations over the phone from the comfort of their own homes. 

Since it began in 2020, the museum has made 23 presentations on a number of historic topics related to artifacts in the WDM collection. 

“Of course, the WDM is all about history and heritage, and if we don’t share those stories, they might get lost. It’s really beneficial not only for the participants in the group but also to me because, as a program manager, it really helps to have a first-hand experience looking at some of these different topics that we deal with with our programming across all four WDM locations,” said Rasmussen. 

Rasmussen added, that when the museum was first asked to be a presenter, she started looking at material the museum already had and repurposed it for the telephone program. 

“We’ve got something called a Discovery Box. It’s an older program that we don’t really offer much anymore. They each had a different theme to do with Saskatchewan’s history and they included hands-on artifacts and pictures,” Rasmussen said.  

“So, I thought this was a really easy fit because they came with the script and because we weren’t doing a lot of in-person programming over the pandemic, I had the time to really revisit these and update them for the Seniors’ Centre Without Walls phone program.” 

You can find out more about Seniors’ Centre Without Walls by visiting their website. You can also learn more about the Western Development Museum’s programming here

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