In search of photos in Calgary

Stop 9: Glenbow Museum’s Archives & Library

Made a quick stop at the Archives and Library of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta. The Archivist explained to me when I arrived that the Museum’s mandate has generally been to collect material from the province south of Red Deer – unfortunately, the location of the original provincial mental hospital is located north of Red Deer in Ponoka. I did, however, find some good photos of the hospital and the Librarian found me a folder of newspaper clippings and an article about the Ponoka Hospital Museum (I knew it would happen eventually: I missed a museum!). Subsequent Google searches tell me that artifacts from the Hospital are at the Fort Ostell Museum in Ponoka.

Alberta’s (psychiatric) institutional history dates to the beginning of the twentieth century around the time when it first became a province of Canada. Construction began on the Provincial Hospital for the Insane in 1908 and the first patients were admitted in 1911. The institution has a controversial history that includes the practice of sexual sterilization between roughly 1928-1970 (the province Alberta apologized to the victims in 1999).


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