East Coulee School Museum - a look into coal mining past | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

East Coulee School Museum - a look into coal mining past



    During its busiest time, the East Coulee School held 250 students on the main floor and at least 110 students in the basement classrooms.
    The school was originally built in 1930 to house grades one to five - 1934 addition relocated students who were being schooled in temporary classrooms in town.
    The school served a growing population through the 1930s and 1940s, and as coal mines  were closed and residents  moved away from East Coulee, the school was finally closed in the 1970s.
    Museum Executive Director Barb Steeves has been told the backhoes were almost at the front door to demolish the school when efforts to save the building were successful.
    In 1985 the school reopened its doors as the East Coulee School Museum.
    The museum helps visitors to remember and learn about the “men who mined the black” and their families, along with the contributions they made to the local community.
    Visitors can wander through the museum or they can take part in one of the guided tours available.
    Tours include a visit to the coal boiler room, where the hardworking boiler finally gave out in 2012 after a solid 78 years of service, and the last load of coal delivered in both the boiler and coal room still sit.
    There is a 1936 style classroom set up that is an interactive classroom for both school groups and visitors who take the self-guided tour at the museum.
    A room at the museum is dedicated to the miners who worked the area, and holds pieces from their working life that serve as a poignant reminder of the dangerous conditions in which these men were expected to work.
    The museum also has a fossil display on the main floor that’s now in its second year.
    This fossil exhibit was created from  the collection of East Coulee resident Wayne Marshall, from pieces that were retrieved from the area many years ago, some of which  have been  beautifully crystallized over time.
    The museum will next be working to set up a realistic exhibit in the school basement’s science laboratory, putting to good use the old school equipment presently stored away.
    The museum offers reasonably price drinks and meals in the lovely Willow Tea Room, and also has a gift shop holding a variety of items to appeal to a wide range of tastes.
    The East Coulee School Museum is open daily May 2 to September 2, 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m. 8 9 0


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