The Esplanade Museum is a true community museum. Now entering its sixty-fifth year, it began as a project of the Historical Society of Medicine Hat and District. The Museum exists to arouse, enhance and encourage an appreciation of the development of the community with citizens and visitors as a place to live, work and do business.

The Historical Society of Medicine Hat and District was formed in 1948. The generation which had grown up during the Great Depression and fought the Second World War had witnessed the totalitarian attacks on the values of their society. They recognized that one way to ensure the preservation of those ideals was to create an organization which captured, saved and shared the items which they, and their forbearers, held dear or which represented their lives and the values which informed them.

The Historical Society quickly began collecting the memoirs of the early residents of the community, and almost immediately people began bringing forward items which they valued or which they recognized as being important to telling the community’s story. So many artifacts were donated that Society members had to store them in their homes and garages. A better arrangement was obviously needed and, prompted by the upcoming 50th anniversary of the province, a building constructed of logs harvested from the Cypress Hills was opened in Riverside Park on July 4th, 1951.

People continued to recognize the importance of their heritage and kept donating items. The collection continued to grow which meant new and better buildings in other locations were needed until the newest facility, the Esplanade, was created to mark the province’s centenary. It is home to more than 25,000 artifacts which chronicle the lives, and values, of the people who built and shaped the community.

Citizens and residents are welcome to add to the collection if they have items which reflect the community’s development. Please contact the Museum Curator, Robert Bruce Shepard at 403-502-8581 to arrange an appointment. Ideas and suggestions for future exhibits and programs are also welcome.

The Esplanade presents items from its collection in engaging and informative ways so that new generations can learn about the successes and sacrifices which formed this community. Medicine Hat is a unique place, created by proud men and women, who left us an enduring legacy. We honor them by remembering them.