Artifacts include Gatling gun from 1800s and sword of Capt. James Cook from 1700s

Masses of artifacts with no immediate use all covered in a finite dust of unknown origin, yet with enough value to be preserved on shelves. There are two places that this description applies to — museums and storage containers.

 It was at the Glenbow Museum that Jennifer Carrobourg heard about the adopt-an-artifact program, and immediately thought of adopting an item for her dad.

The program has had 27 items adopted of the 138 available since the launch of the program in November 2010.

“My dad was in the process of cleaning out his storage locker, because he has so much crap, and I love the Glenbow Museum so I decided ‘why not?’” said Carrobourg, regarding her decision to participate in the adopt-an-artifact program.

Carrobourg said she developed a love of the Glenbow Museum from a lifetime of visiting the facility, but has always felt a frustration with not being able to touch the artifacts.

“My dad has a hockey table from the same era that we’re not allowed to touch, and I felt that the table kind of fit his personality,” said Carrobourg of adopting a 1950s table hockey board as a gift for her father, Roger.

The irony of adopting an artifact that you can’t touch was not lost on Carrobourg. The program offered an opportunity to give a gift that would not clutter her father’s newly empty storage space.

Originally created by Canadian Donald Munro in the 1930s, the table model was the first of its kind, and it helped his family survive the great depression.

Melanie Kjorlien, co-ordinator of the program, said all of the artifacts up for adoption have a history behind them, and the program is a great way for people to connect with that history.

The items chosen for the program cover a wide range of interests — everything from a Gatling gun of the 1860s to the weathered sword of Capt. James Cook of the 1700s.

“We wanted to highlight the really special artifacts in our collection,” Kjorlien said.

The history of the artifacts was of importance for Kjorlien and her team in developing the program.

“We wanted to choose artifacts that really spoke to people, while being rooted in history,” Kjorlien said, adding that the program is in constant development. “It is an ever growing thing. We are adding new things this year.”

“Every museum has more artifacts than we can display. This helped to expose our collection and open it to the public.”

The adoption fee has a direct benefit for the artifacts in the collection, as the money goes towards maintenance and care of the artifacts, Kjorlien stated.

Megan Bailey, of the Glenbow Museum, said their team of specialists would be adding 15 more artifacts to the selection in the coming days.

Kjorlien noted that the adopt-an-artifact program is a popular gift idea — often the most compelling reason to adopt artifacts.

“It creates an opportunity to give a gift that is really interesting and sets itself in history.”

kdancy@cjournal.ca