A look at Aero Space Museum of Calgary, Police Interpretive Centre and Firefighters Museum of Calgary

Move over, Glenbow Museum and Heritage Park!

Although not as well known, there are three museums in Calgary that have incredible displays and exhibits that are a must-see for any Calgarian or visitor.

Aero Space Museum of Calgary

Planes, planes everywhere! Anyone interested in airplanes should visit the Aero Space Museum of Calgary. Upon entering the museum, visitors can see over a dozen or so aircrafts in the main hanger, ranging from small personal aircrafts to a scaled-down replica of a space shuttle. The second hanger houses the larger planes and helicopters.

Even the museum’s building is rich in history. Built in 1941, the hanger was the drill hall for No. 37 Secondary Flight Training School for the British Commonwealth Air Training Program in Calgary, states the museum’s website.

The museum is home to an impressive airplane, the Avro Lancaster Mk. X bomber. First built in 1941, according to the website, “Lancasters carried out a total of 156,000 missions and dropped 608,612 tons of bombs” in the Second World War.

A view of some of the planes featured at the Aero Space Museum of Calgary.
Photo by: Corinne Sato

One of the 26 remaining in the world, the museum’s Lancaster was built in 1945, says the website. The plane was originally sent to England, but was never deployed in the war. Acquired in 1962, the Lancaster Club of Calgary mounted the plane on a pedestal outside the Calgary International Airport, and was later moved to the museum in 1992.

Calgarians can view the 20-foot tall plane up close in the museum’s second hanger, and can learn about the Lancaster, the pilots and the Second World War missions in the museum.

The Aero Space Museum of Calgary is located at 4629 McCall Way N.E., and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week. A list of admission prices can be found on the website at ww.asmac.ab.ca/aerospace/default.asp.

Calgary Police Interpretive Centre

Want to solve a crime and be a crime scene investigator? Learn about making wise choices about Internet safety? Or learn the risks and consequences of drugs? Well, you can do all that at the Calgary Police Interpretive Centre.

Catering to junior high students from the ages of 11 to 14, the centre teaches “students how to make good choices,” says Gail Niinimaa, administrator and operations co-ordinator at the centre.

“We inform them of contemporary issues in order for them to make their own decisions,” she says.

Shiny and bright red, “Maggie” sits in the middle of the Firefighters Museum of Calgary.
Photo by: Corinne Sato

The exhibits focus on situations that kids can face, including street drugs, drinking and driving, family violence, Internet safety, gang violence and bullying. The interactive activities allow people to make choices — and learn about the consequences of their decisions in a safe environment, says Kevin Waites, co-ordinator of outreach programs.

In the exhibit, “Dead End Street,” visitors learn about legal and illegal drugs used on Calgary streets. “It’s a high impact exhibit,” Waites says.

Visitors follow the lives of four young people who start to use drugs, which are based on real-life experiences.

“Our point is not to scare the kids,” Waites says. “We just want them to know the consequences of a situation.”

The Calgary Police Interpretive Centre will be open on May 18, and is inviting all Twitter users to visit and tweet about the centre and exhibits.

The Police Interpretive Centre is located on the second floor of the Police Administration Building at 316 – 7 Avenue S.E. The centre is open on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., but closed on long weekends. Over the summer, the centre will be open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.youthlinkcalgary.com/about_the_centre.html.

Firefighters Museum of Calgary

Good things come in small packages, and this includes the Firefighters Museum of Calgary.

“We are a small museum, but that’s what we play for. Here you get a lot of one-on-one interaction, and we try to make it more personal,” says Rebecca Melenka, supervisor of the museum.

Established in 1986, the museum was started by volunteers, says Melenka. The volunteers collected over 12,000 artifacts and memorabilia relating to firefighting and the history of Calgary, she says.

Of course not all the artifacts can be displayed, but those that are on display are interesting to see, but the favourite displays have everyone see red.

“People love the trucks,” says Melenka.

And the museum showcases many trucks, including a fully restored truck named “Maggie,” in the middle of the museum. With an 80 foot-long wooden ladder, and bright red paint, this truck is beautiful.

Aimed particularity for Grade 6 students, the Calgary Police Interpretive Centre aims to teach students about making good choices through their interactive exhibits.
Photo by: Corinne Sato

The museum also holds about 10 fire trucks and wagons in a second building, all restored ranging from the early 1900s to the mid 1950s.

Across from “Maggie” sits an old steamer that ranges in date from 1898 to 1905. The large steamer is a blue-green colour, due to its exposure outside. Melenka says the museum hopes to restore the steamer right on site.

“It would be kind of like the Royal Tyrrell Museum – where visitors can watch people at work, uncovering the steamer,” she says.

Although this steamer is not originally from Calgary, Melenka says that the Calgary Fire Department did use a steamer to put out fires. Once restored, Melenka says she wants to make the steamer into a show piece – just like “Maggie.”

As a way to celebrate International Museum Day, the Firefighters Museum of Calgary will officially open to the public on May 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and admission is free for the day.

Located at 4124 – 11 St S.E., the museum will be open on a regular basis Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but will be closed on statutory holidays. For a list of admission prices, phone: 403-246-3322 or visit www.calgaryfirefightersmuseum.com.

May 18, is International Museum Day

Established in 1977, by the International Council of Museums, International Museum Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of museums in developing societies.

Many museums will have special events, features and special admission prices, to celebrate the day.

The Things to Do Section, encourages Calgarians to celebrate International Museum Day by visiting one or more of the museums featured in this month’s section:

• Blackfoot Crossing Museum

• Chinese Cultural Museum

• Gopher Hole Museum

• Aero Space Museum of Calgary

• Calgary Police Interpretive Centre

• And Firefighters Museum of Calgary

Source from International Council of Museum website:

http://icom.museum/what-we-do/activities/international-museum-day.html.

csato@cjournal.ca