Permanent Collections & Library

Permanent Collections

The collections of the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery document the history and culture of Red Deer and Central Alberta. Our Collections represent a broad sample of materials directly related to the City of Red Deer, the surrounding districts and Central Alberta.

Collections include clothing and textiles, commercial and domestic material, archaeological and paleontological artefacts and agricultural machinery and equipment. The Museum also holds a collection of artwork from local, national and international artists.

Reference and Research Library

The MAG Reference and Research Library is a closed stacked library and is housed at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery. Holdings include Alberta and local history books, pamphlets, catalogues, periodicals, and sheet music.

Access to the catalogue is available online the Red Deer Public Library. In-person access to the MAG Reference and Research Library is by appointment only.

For information about the collection and the library, contact Melanie at 

What's Remarkable About Red Deer?

Here are posts of unique items from our collection. Click on each to read their stories.

C.A.R.E.: Serving Immigrants Since 1980 – Asdolah’s Story

Wednesday, February 24th 2016

For Immediate Release
24th February, 2016


C.A.R.E.: Serving Immigrants Since 1980 – Asdolah’s Story

February 27th, 2016 to August 2016

Opening Reception Date: Sunday February 28th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Central Alberta Refugee Effort (C.A.R.E.) has been serving new immigrants in our community for over 35 years.  From C.A.R.E.’s founding to present day they have grown and expanded their program of support to newcomers in their transition to life in Red Deer. Together with C.A.R.E. the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (MAG) is pleased to tell the story of one of our new Red Deerian’s.  Asdolah Kheirandish came to Red Deer in 2012 as a refugee from Afghanistan with his wife and three young children.  A master rug weaver, his life has followed his art with twists and turns along the way, but like his rugs he has woven a sturdy foundation for his family.  The MAG will be telling Asdolah’s story and displaying the last rug he created by hand in Afghanistan on our community wall.

Admission is free, donations welcome.

For more information, please contact Kim Verrier     
Coordinator of Visitor Services

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Prisoner of War Uniform

Tuesday, April 7th 2015

Prisoner of War Uniform
Collection of the Red Deer & District Museum Society

Prisoner of War Uniform Canada

This Prisoner of War Uniform was standard issue to both civilian and POW's in Canada between 1939 and 1945. Manufactured by the Great West Garment Company under contract to the Canadian Government, the uniform was made of blue denim with special markings for easy identification in the event of escape. These special markings included a fourteen-inch red circle on the jacket back, a broad red stripe down the right pant leg and a red inset crown on the cap.

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Arlington Egg Cup

Thursday, February 5th 2015

Arlington Egg Cup
Collection of the Red Deer & District Museum Society

Gift of Mrs. M. Gertrude Richards

Arlington Egg Cup

This porcelain egg cup is from the Arlington Hotel c. 1899. The Arlington Hotel was built by the owners of the Queen’s Hotel, Thomas and Edith Pennington Ellis, in the same spot that the Queen’s Hotel had been, in 1899. The Arlington hotel stood on 51st Ave. near the old C.P.R. station for nearly 110 years.

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Toy Train Engine

Monday, November 24th 2014

Toy Train Engine
Acc: 1876.432 1a
Collection of the Red Deer & District Museum Society
Gift of Mrs. Catherine M. Lerouge

Toy Train Set

This treasured toy belonged to three brothers, Camille, Robert and Pierre Lerouge. Using their first initials, the boys named it the “CPR” train. The train set came with their family when they moved from France to Red Deer in 1907.

The model train was made by a German company, Gebruder Bing, one of the largest toy companies the world in the early 20th century. The engine pulled the train along the tracks, operating on mineral spirits.

As an adult, Camille Lerouge worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad for 47 ½ years. He was also a dedicated volunteer in the church and community.  École Camille J. Lerouge School is named in his honour.

The train set, including the engine, cars, tracks, and loading cranes, is on display in the Children’s Gallery in the Remarkable Red Deer history exhibit.

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The Tragedies of War

Wednesday, November 5th 2014

On November 8th the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery will open two exhibitions that tell the incredible, personal stories resulting from the tragedies of war.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Austria declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. Great Britain, including Canada, allied with Serbia, Russia, Belgium and France against the German and the Austro-Hungarian Empires. Canada was at war.

Let’s Go Boys! tells the stories about how Red Deer and Central Alberta citizens responded to the heroic yet tragic event. Hundreds enlisted and many never returned. Families focused on their loved ones far from home while they maintained their lives under difficult circumstances. They lived where we now live. How we live is due much to their sacrifices.

One of the outcomes of the First World War was the formation of the country of Yugoslavia. Decades later, families have endured unbelievable loss as result of war in this same area in Europe.

Commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross, in collaboration with author Rory Maclean and photographer Nick Danziger, Missing Lives documents and commemorates the stories of fifteen families whose relatives disappeared during the wars in the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia.

Thousands of people were forcibly evacuated from their villages; few escaped. The war spared no one. Tens of thousands of men, women and children were murdered and remain unaccounted for to this day.

The International Committee of the Red Cross and other organizations have undertaken to trace the 34,278 missing men, women and children during the war in the Balkans between 1991 and 1995. For the first time, DNA has been used to match remains from mass graves. Forensic scientists and anthropologists have spent years helping to identify the missing, providing some closure for families.

Both exhibitions open on November 8, 2014. Missing Lives closes February 1, 2015; Let’s Go Boys! February 8, 2015. The community is invited to attend the opening on Tuesday, November 11 from Noon to 4:30 pm. Free admission applies.

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Silver Memorial Cross

Friday, October 31st 2014

Silver Memorial Cross
Acc: 2013.8.68a-c
Collection of the Red Deer & District Museum Society
Gift of Virginia Bordwell

 Private Kendal Miller was the son of Thomas and Alice Ellis Miller of Red Deer. He was killed in action on June 25, 1917, at the age of 17 years, and is buried in the Vimy Memorial Cemetery in France. This Memorial Cross, also known as the Silver Cross, was presented to his mother. 

A distant relative living in the USA contacted the MAG to ask if the museum would be interested in objects related to Kendal’s military service. Several photographs, his mother’s memorial cross, medals, and appreciation certificate from the City of Red Deer arrived in October 2013.

2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of The First World War. An exhibit – “Let’s Go Boys” – will be on display beginning November 8th thru to February 8, 2015.

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Popcorn Machine

Wednesday, October 1st 2014

Popcorn Machine, manufactured by Manley Inc.
Acc: 1984.238
Collection of the Red Deer & District Museum Society
Gift of Mr. Howard Mullen

Popcorn Machine manufactured by Manley Inc. Accession 1984.238Howard Mullen was a progressive business man in Central Alberta. In 1959, Mullen opened the A&W restaurant on the North Hill. This restaurant was one of the first in Alberta, opening just three years after the famous fast food chain was started in Winnipeg.

Mullen purchased this popcorn machine from the Purnells, owners of the Paramount Theatre, and relocated it in the north side A & W.  It now sits in the BMO Capitol Theatre in the Remarkable Red Deer history exhibit.

The MAG has many items from local movie theatres in the collection, including the old projector and three of the theatre seats from the Paramount Theatre.

Like classic movies?  Then be sure to check out the Live Music/Silent Film event scheduled on October 27th, 2014.

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Friends at RDC

Thursday, August 14th 2014

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery is connected to our community in a variety of ways.  We are especially proud of our long-standing relationship with the Visual Arts Department at Red Deer College.

Golley Wall PieceTwo special ceramic exhibitions, with RDC connections, went on display at the MAG in August.

RDC Curator and Instructor, Robin Lambert, curated Once + Future: Canadian Contemporary Ceramics. This exhibition features young artists from across Canada merging the medium of ceramics and new technologies. (On till Oct 19th)

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Raku-fired Bowl

Monday, July 14th 2014

Acc: 2005.63.1: Collection of the Red Deer & District Museum Society
Gift of Marguerite & Eugene Watson

Raku-fired BowlRed Deer has always had a vibrant visual arts community. Part of the Museum’s mandate is to collect works of art that represent the artists in our region. This raku-fired ceramic bowl is the work of local artist Pat Matheson, and is part of the MAG’s art collection.

Pat is known for his ceramics and raku work, a firing technique originating in Japan. His studio is on the original homestead occupied by several generations of his family. His deep regard for history and the land are interpreted in his work. The studio is often transformed into a gallery and the doors opened to the public.

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Red Deer Advocate Doll

Thursday, June 26th 2014

Acc #: 2010.7 Collection of the Red Deer & District Museum Society
Gift of the Red Deer Advocate

Advocate DollThis doll was owned by Helen Anderson from Markerville, Alberta. Helen won her in a Red Deer Advocate subscription contest in about 1951. The doll was purchased by Fred Gorman in March 2010 on behalf of the Red Deer Advocate and donated to the MAG (Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery).

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