If you’ve ever met Farley Wuth, curator of Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek, you know he’s the closest thing you’ll find to a human encyclopedia on the history of southwestern Alberta.
Farley has been a wealth of knowledge in his role for just over 25 years, and now people have the opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brain, while sharing their own recollections of the region’s history.
The first Coffee With Our Curator event, a series of informal discussions with Farley about a plethora of local historical topics, was held Sept. 12 at Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village. Each month, the museum will host one of these sit-down conversations, featuring a new topic every session.
According to Farley, these discussions are meant to be a two-way dialogue between himself and participants eager to learn about local history and share their own knowledge and recollections.
“It’s a new way of engaging the public in local history, getting them to come to the museum and get them thinking about these topics,” he says.
The first session revolved around the region’s early explorers and how they shaped the land. Two sets of explorers were discussed — official and unofficial.
Official explorers consisted mostly of men sent by the Canadian or British governments to identify the agricultural potential of the West. Unofficial explorers are those who came on their own, with Farley referring to them as “renegade frontiersmen.”
The discussion group also explored how the land’s Indigenous Peoples ensured the survival of these men.
This conversation will be followed up each month with a new topic to ensure that conversations stay fresh. Topics include early Pincher Creek pioneers, railway settlements, early ranchers of the area and more.
The hope is that these informal yet informative dialogues will increase public interest in local history while fostering recollections that can provide insights into the area’s past.
The series will run until May, before taking a break for the summer. If the program proves popular enough, the plan is for Coffee With Our Curator to return in the fall of 2024.
Regardless of what the future holds, Farley is thrilled for this opportunity to sit down with locals and engage them about the early history of Pincher Creek and surrounding areas.
“I always find it very exciting to have discussions with local residents, descendants of the pioneers and people who have come more recently and are finding out what their interests are in the local history,” he says.
Each monthly sit-down will run from 1 to 3 p.m. and will be hosted in Pioneer Place at Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village. The gatherings are free to attend.
Visit the Kootenai Brown website for dates, topics and additional info.
Any questions can be directed to KBPV by phone at 403-627-3684 or by email.