Culture News

Artifact auction offers a piece of history to residents

By Jennifer Thurbide

Residents will have a chance to own a little piece of history later this month as the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre gets set to clean out its closets.

Starting April 22, more than 300 items from the museum collection will be available to the highest bidder in the largest local artifact auction ever. Curator/Director Michele Alderton says the facility wanted to ensure the displaced items, although not of use for the museum, stayed in the community.

“Rather than send them off to another museum that may already have other copies and different things, if the local people can come in and say ‘yes we would like this pair of snowshoes’, they can take them home and enjoy them so they are not leaving the community and they are not being destroyed.”

The facility, which has been collecting local and regional artifacts for more than 30 years, is going through a deaccessioning process. That means cataloguing the collection and preparing to sell or dispose of items that no longer meet the current standards, says Alderton.

“The main reason we are refining our collection is that we have done a complete inventory and we have a lot of duplicates of items, sometimes five or six copies of an item. What we are doing is keeping the better copies of the ones that have the most significance to the history of the area,” she says.

“The items that are going to be auctioned off no longer meet the collections policy for various reasons.”

Alderton adds that although the Centre is a large building, much of the collection is mining related which poses a challenge for storage purposes. As well, over the years items have been donated that don’t have a paper trail nor have much to do with the area. It is these items, she says, the public will see in the upcoming auction.

This is not the first time the Centre has used an auction format to get rid of duplicate items. Last fall about 20 items were put up for bid. This time the bidding will be kicked off at a Launch event on Monday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m. which will be open to the public and will allow community members to tour those items up for sale and get their starting bids in.

The auction will close on Tuesday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. Winners will be notified after the bids close. Items being offered include a variety of furniture, tools, clothes, dishes and more.

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