News Story

Alberta’s Galt Museum Highlights 100 Years of Lethbridge Latter-day Saints’ History

A colourful quilt hand-embroidered with the names of 560 Lethbridge members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, photos of a tragic fire that destroyed the Lethbridge Alberta Stake Centre and other fascinating exhibits on the Lethbridge Alberta Stake are currently on display at the esteemed Galt Museum and Archives in southern Alberta.

“Lethbridge Alberta Stake: Celebrating 100 Years” is a collaboration between the museum and the Lethbridge Alberta Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in celebration of the stake’s centennial. The exhibit closes February 7.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been an integral part of the Lethbridge community for the past 100 years. Having its story told through the personal stories and photographs in this archival exhibit is a great honour,” commented Traci Sherwood, the Lethbridge Alberta Stake Communication Director.

“It was amazing to learn how intertwined the history of the Lethbridge Alberta Stake is with the history of Lethbridge and southern Alberta,” said Bobbie Fox, archives assistant for the Galt Museum and Archives.

Visitors to the exhibit will be treated to images from the Galt Archives as well as pictures loaned from the Lethbridge Alberta Stake showcasing its activities in the community and southern Alberta. The 1968 fire that devastated the original stake centre and the miraculous story of how the pipe organ was saved are featured. The organ is still being used in the current stake centre.

Local residents Brent and Kathy Laycock loaned a 70-year-old family quilt to the display. It has about 560 hand-embroidered names of stake members who each paid $1 to have their name appear on the quilt. Kathy Laycock’s father, Delbert Palmer, bought the quilt in 1949 at a fundraising event held by the stake.

“This would have netted the stake $560 plus whatever Delbert paid at the auction,” said Brent. “That was an impressive sum in those days. It is apparent that the immense task of embroidering the names was accomplished by many women.”

Kathy remembers being comforted by the quilt whenever she was sick and had to stay in bed. She spent hours searching through the names, many of whom she recognized as ward members, family members, distant relatives and (although she didn't know it at the time) her future husband, Brent Laycock.

The quilt is a precious written and crafted record of what could now be described as the pioneer families of the Lethbridge Alberta Stake. The descendants of these people number in the thousands.

The exhibit is divided into four sections: 1) Community and Humanitarian Service, highlighting Lethbridge Church members’ contributions to the community and to Latter-day Saints around the world; 2) Irrigation, which tells of the Latter-day Saints’ efforts to bring irrigation to the area; 3) General History; and 4) Genealogy, which spotlights various high-profile Lethbridge citizens who were or are members of the stake.

Displays are spread throughout the museum’s meeting rooms and downstairs in the archives reference room. After the exhibit concludes its run, the images, labels and panels will be gifted to the stake.

The Galt Museum and Archives features a multitude of new and travelling exhibits every few months. Its special exhibits are researched, developed and built primarily by in-house staff in collaboration with local organizations, historians, experts and artists. The museum hosts three main exhibits a year in the Special Exhibits Hall and up to nine more every year in the hallway and meeting room exhibit spaces.

Contributed by Gail Newbold, Canada Communication Council

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