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.

Bring Your Own Pumpkin! MAGnificent Saturdays

Tuesday, October 30th 2012

This Saturday families carved pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. We had a fabluous time!

Have a look at some of the wonderful results!

Happy Halloween!





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Curious Thursdays: Award-winning Author, Fred Stenson

Thursday, October 18th 2012

To complement the Profit and Ambition: The Canadian Fur Trade (1779 – 1821) exhibition, award-winning author Fred Stenson will be at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery on Thursday, October 25, 7:00 pm.

Fred has written several books on historical fiction and non-fiction of the Canadian West over the past 38 years.

His third novel, The Trade, recreates Canadian life during the fur trade, and chronicles the rise of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the settling of the Canadian West. Searching for a new source of beaver pelts, an expedition is mounted that takes the Company into unmapped territory and a journey full of new adventures.

The Trade, published in 2000, won the Grant MacEwan Author's Prize for best Alberta book of the year. The Trade was also shortlisted for the prestigious Canadian Giller Prize. The novel also won a City of Edmonton Book Prize and the Georges Bugnet Award for best novel.

His 2008 novel The Great Karoo was nominated for the 2008 Governor General's Literary Award in Fiction and was a nominee for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Canada/Caribbean).

The program topics planned for Curious Thursdays are geared more for adult audiences, however older children are welcome to attend. Look for a variety of programs every Thursday evening at the MAG until December 9th, during the run of Profit & Ambition: The Canadian Fur Trade, 1779-1821.

Cost for the presentation is general admission (Adults $5.00, Seniors, $2.00); Free for MAG members. Fred will sign copies of his book.

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Heritage, Museums Assistance Program.

For more information, please contact Rod Trentham. Educational Programs Coordinator, 403.309.8445Karin Richardson-MacKenzie, Development & Marketing at 403.309.8446,.


Background – Fred Stenson
Canadian novelist and historian, Fred Stenson was born in Pincher Creek and raised in the mixed grain and ranching country of southern Alberta. He graduated with a degree in Economics from the University of Calgary in 1972.  Fred currently lives in Cochrane Alberta, with his wife Pamela Banting.

“Stenson's numerous non-fiction works include The Story of Calgary (1994), RCMP: The March West (1999), and The Last Stack (2000). Things Feigned or Imagined (2002) is a guide to the writing of fiction. He is also the author of well over a hundred film and video scripts and has edited two collections of Alberta writing, Alberta Bound (1986) and The Road Home (1992).

Stenson was a founding member of the Writer's Guild of Alberta, serving as its president in 1996. Since 2001 he has been director of the Wired Writing Studio at the Banff Centre. He currently writes a regular humour and opinion column for Calgary-based Alberta Views magazine.”1
1. By J.G. Johansen;

List provided by Canadian Books & Authors (

1974 Lonesome Hero (novel)
1985 Rocky Mountain House (non-fiction)
1985 Waste to Wealth (non-fiction)
1988 Last One Home (novel)
1990 Working without a Laugh Track (short stories)
1994 The Story of Calgary (non-fiction)
1994 Teeth (short stories)
1999 RCMP: The March West (non-fiction)
2000 The Last Stack (non-fiction)
2000 The Trade (novel, Giller Prize shortlist)
2002 Thing Feigned or Imagined (non-fiction)
2003 Lightning (novel)
2006 Waterton Brush and Pen (with Brent Laycock, non-fiction)
2008 The Great Karoo (novel, Governor General’s Literary Award shortlist)

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Curious Thursdays: Person’s Day: Pat McDonald on Charlotte Small-Thompson

Friday, October 12th 2012

To complement the Profit and Ambition: The Canadian Fur Trade (1779 – 1821) exhibition,  author, historian, teacher and webmaster, Pat McDonald will discuss the incredible life of Charlotte Small and her husband David Thompson, Thursday, October 18, 7:00 pm at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

Charlotte died in 1857 -- 72 years before the Persons Case -- three months after David; they had been married an astounding 58 years. Although “country” wives taught the fur traders winter survival skills, the Cree language, traditional medicine and processed meat, sewed moccasins and clothing, very, very little is written about them.  We do know that Charlotte Small travelled at least 22 000, possibly up to 30 000, kilometers on foot, horse or in a canoe with her husband. Pat will share his vast knowledge of Charlotte Small and David Thompson. 

New Charlotte Small Bronze at the Talk:

Recently, Charlotte Small was finally made a person of National Historical Significance.  Sculptor, Don Lynch has just completed a bronze bust of Charlotte Small that is destined for the Rocky Mountain House Historic Site.  Don will bring his the Charlotte Small bronze bust to the MAG for Pat’s talk.

The bronze was commissioned by the Town of Rocky Mountain House, the County of Clearwater, through the David Thompson Bi-Centennial Brigade and the Confluence Heritage Society for National Historic Site, Rocky Mountain House.

Cost for the presentation is general admission (Adults $5.00, Seniors, $2.00); Free for MAG members.

There will be plenty of activity at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery every Thursday Evening, during the run of Profit & Ambition: The Canadian Fur Trade, 1779-1821.

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Heritage, Museums Assistance Program.
Please contact Karin Richardson-MacKenzie, Development & Marketing at 403.309.8446, Rod Trentham. Educational Programs Coordinator, 403.309.8445, Pat McDonald at 403.845.5698 or Don Lynch, 403.722.4345. For more information on the exhibition.

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More MAGnificent Saturday Pictures

Tuesday, October 9th 2012

Gnomes! And more gnomes! Erin inspired artists young and old to make their very own garden gnome on Summer Time Sculpture Saturday! Look at some of the fabulous characters that were created.


Inspired by the art of American artist Robert Rauschenberg families were invited to make artworks that were "Black + White + Red All Over." Erin taught families how to transfer images onto their paper and create brand new artworks.

Do you know what Pointillism is? It is when you use dots of colour to create an image. Here is a beautiful example made my MAG Saturday artist Carlene LaRue.


Check back soon for more amazing artworks!

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TD Bank makes a Positive Impact on MAG Programming

Friday, October 5th 2012


TD Bank makes a Positive Impact on MAG Programming
The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery is pleased to announce that TD Bank in Red Deer will be the presenting sponsor of MAGnificent Saturdays for the upcoming year.

Representatives from the four local TD branches gathered at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery on September 26th to meet the Museum staff, and to accept their appreciation for the donation of $10,000 in support of the distinctive family program.

Nick Petter, District Vice President, Alberta Central East said, “As a bank, we talk a lot about financial literacy and the importance of ensuring all Canadians have the tools to make good decisions about their financial future and security. But we also feel very strongly about cultural literacy and community engagement.”

Petter adds, “One way we express this is through our support for programs that provide young people affordable opportunities to experience the arts in Canada, and help arts communities build future audiences. So we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved with the MAGnificent Saturdays Program and the MAG in Red Deer.”

“TD is recognized for their commitment of quality programming in many communities,” says Lorna Johnson, Executive Director of the MAG. “We are very pleased to partner with TD Bank.
Their support for young people – educationally, socially and artistically – helps them to reach their full potential.”

The MAG introduced the MAGSaturdays program four years ago. Local artist and instructor, Tanya Zuzak-Collard is the designer and coordinator of the program. Several skilled artists and RDC visual art students facilitate each Saturday session.

The art-based, family-oriented program is geared to all skill levels, and builds communication and social skills through creativity, learning and play. Making art together allows children, parents and grandparents the opportunity to create and learn from each other.

TD’s support for the MAGnificent Saturdays programming will allow the Museum to continue to offer exceptional visual art programs to families in Red Deer at a nominal cost.

Visit the MAG’s website for the complete schedule www.reddeermuseum/programs/MAGSaturdays.

For more information, please call Karin Richardson-MacKenzie, Development & Marketing at 403-309-8446.

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MAGsparks' Fundraisers

Friday, September 21st 2012

MAGsparks' Fundraisers

Below is a picture of the mugs MAGsparks made for the Alberta Museum Association's conference.  The conference presenters will each get one.  This was a small fundraiser for the program.  They turned out fantastic!

Another fundraiser for MAGsparks is at Earthdance on Saturday, Sept. 22.  They will be at The Hub on Ross St. with information and merchandise and art for sale!  Their table will be set up inside The Hub from 5-7pm.

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Peculiar Portraits & Where'd the Art Go?

Tuesday, September 18th 2012

Here are some of our participants having fun with colour pastel on black paper with artist Carlene. This Saturday families made colourful and Peculiar Portraits.

And here are a few images from Where'd the Art Go with Erin. Parents and kids rubbed their paper black with charcoal and then erased to make marks and added white charcoal.

Peculiar Portraits

Where'd the Art Go?




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Summer Saturdays in July

Tuesday, September 11th 2012

In July we had tons of fun with a variety of activities and projects.

Here are a few highlights!

  Carlene La Rue showed our visitors how to create their very own magnetic frames. Look at all the different elements collaged together.





Artist Erin Boake made paper sculpted flowers as part of our Giving Tree Gardens Saturday.







  Tanya Zuzak Collard explored making miniature artworks with families. How come making things mini is so much fun?




Stay tuned for more images and updates!

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Oh! Oh! Origami

Tuesday, September 4th 2012

Here’s a look back at some of our successful summer MAGnificent Saturdays.

In July Erin Boake made beautiful Origami pieces for Oh!Oh! Origami! Origami paper comes in an amazing variety of colours and designs and there are hundreds of folding patterns to try!


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Making History - Big changes happening at the MAG

Tuesday, September 4th 2012

Making History - Big changes happening at the MAG
Beginning Thursday, September 6, until Saturday, September 29, the exhibit galleries at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery will be empty.

The first phase of construction for the new permanent history exhibition – Remarkable Red Deer: Stories from the Heart of the Parkland – begins. The dividing wall that separates the new 4800 square foot history exhibition and temporary galleries will be erected.

“It’s hard to believe that we are at this stage,” states Lorna Johnson, Executive Director. “Things will look very different at the MAG this fall. This is the first phase of a seven-month production period. We are very excited to see the vision transforming into reality.”

During this first three and one-half week period, several structural walls and emergency door vestibules will be built therefore the galleries will be closed to the public.
While undergoing construction, the Discovery Studio will remain open. The MAG Saturdays drop-in program will continue as scheduled. As well, the MAG Sparks Open Studio program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons begins September 10th.

Johnson adds, “We’ll finish off 2012 with an exceptional history exhibit.” On September 29, the final and only exhibition of 2012 will open. Profit & Ambition: the Canadian Fur Trade, 1779 to 1821 is a traveling exhibition from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Visitors will relive an epic chapter of the rise and fall of the North West Company, and embark on a remarkable
journey with the voyageurs, explorers and the many others who made up the fur trade.

Then the intensive work begins. It will take several months to install Remarkable Red Deer. The technical, electrical and case fabrication components are extensive. Over 1000 artifacts from the MAG’s collections, and 500 photos, maps, and documents from the Red Deer and District Archives will be readied.

The MAG will make every effort to keep their members informed of the changes and the construction phases. The public is encouraged to go to the website to view the progress. Regular monthly updates will be issued as well.

For more details on the permanent history project, please contact Karin Richardson-MacKenzie, Development & Marketing at 403-309-8446. For information on the Magnificent Saturdays and MAGSparks programs, call 403-309-8405. .

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