June 18th, 2024

Galt opens nursing exhibit

By Alexandra Noad - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on June 4, 2024.

Herald photo by Alexandra Noad Galt curator Tyler Stewart, Galt School of Nursing Alumnae Society president Donna Karl and curatorial project lead Myla Demeres, stand in front of the new exhibit at the Galt Museum at their grand opening on Saturday.

The Galt Museum and Archives celebrated the opening of a new exhibit over the weekend.

The exhibit showcases the rich history of the Galt School of Nursing which ran from 1910 until 1979, when the program was taken over by Lethbridge Community College.

Donna Karl, president of the Galt School of Nursing Alumnae Society, says seeing this exhibit come to life is a dream come true for her.

“It’s a really a dream come true. We have wanted it so much because we do have a lot of wonderful archives. This is the history of nursing,” said Karl

The exhibit took 18 months to build. For Myla Demeres, curatorial project Lead, it was a labour of love in which she felt empowered by the nurses.

“We collaborated with and met with them not only to make sure we were on the right track with our themes, but also just to ensure that our facts were correct and that we had the uniform in the right way. Getting to meet and speak with these folks whose stories I became so personally acquainted with and just getting to connect with folks in the community was absolutely a highlight for me,” said Demeres.

Tyler Stewart, curator for the Galt Museum, says Demeres’ passion for digging deeper made her instrumental in the success of the exhibit.

“She showed a real strong interest in some of the underlying social and political issues. It wasn’t just about the history of the School of Nursing, but like some of those bigger social issues too,” said Stewart.

For years the instruments displayed in the exhibit were hidden a room in the hospital and later moved to the basement of the museum. Karl says helping with the displays brought back a lot of fond memories.

“Just going down and remembering the old instruments, the old uniforms and the old black shoes that are in the display,” said Karl.

The exhibit was funded by donations from 500 Galt School of Nursing Alumnae Society still alive today. Although many have moved away, Karl says many of them donated to make their dream a reality.

“We get donations when we have a project so money comes from all over the world,” said Karl.

The exhibit consists of artifacts, photos from yearbooks and two interactive parts for both children and adults to enjoy.

Stewart hopes the exhibit keeps the Galt School of Nursing legacy alive.

“I hope people remember the School of Nursing is an important part of local history, but also there are some important stories in this exhibition about gendered expectations of that that women were expected to live,” said Stewart

Karl has hopes that the exhibit will inspire the next generations to become nurses.

“We can always use more nurses, so I’m hoping that that’s going to stimulate some of our young people to choose that as an occupation,” said Karl.

Members of the public can visit galtmuseum.com for more information.

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