Southern Alberta farm museum ‘so excited’ to host exhibit saved from wrecking ball

A piece of Calgary history that was saved from the wrecking ball has found a new home.

The Grain Academy, an exhibit that explores the history of farming in Alberta, opened at Stampede Park in 1981 and has wowed generations of kids ever since.

But an extensive expansion project at the park’s BMO Centre meant it had to go.

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It’s now been relocated to Pioneer Acres, a farm museum on the outskirts of the town of Irricana — a 45-minute drive northeast of Calgary.

“If you were a Calgary kid growing up in the ’80s or ’90s like I was, then you might remember that field trip that you made to the Grain Academy,” Pioneer Acres curator Shelly McElroy said.

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The exhibit features a large working model of an old-style grain elevator that was once common across the prairie provinces, a large display that shows an old elevator alongside a modern version and containers of grains such as barley, canola and oats.

“Often what happens to a museum if it’s closing, its collections will get split up,” McElroy said. “We are so lucky we got the Grain Academy because what it meant was all those exhibits could stay together.”

McElroy is hoping the Grain Academy will be a strong draw as Pioneer Acres welcomes more visitors amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

“I’m so excited to show it to people,” McElroy said.

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