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Canadian Tractor Museum gearing up for 20th anniversary

Extensive renovations to be complete by early March at the Canadian Tractor Museum in Westlock, Alberta.
Tractor museum file
The Canadian Tractor Museum in Westlock is currently undergoing some renovations as it gears up for a milestone, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024. Renovations are expected to wrap up by early March and include new offices, a more open concept with displays, a new location for the sponsor and donation feature wall, several accessibility upgrades including accessible washrooms and a new sitting area where visitors and volunteers can enjoy a coffee. File photo

Gearing up for a milestone year with its 20th anniversary just around the corner, the Canadian Tractor Museum in Westlock has been undergoing some extensive renovations this winter, as it prepares to welcome thousands of visitors this spring.

“We’ve been tossing the idea around for about a year now. The board approved to do this and we had the money set aside for it,” said Canadian Tractor Museum president Steven Miller, noting renovations began in January and are expected to be complete by early March with the museum’s anticipated re-opening April 1. 

“This (museum) project started 23 or 24 years ago so we felt it was just time for an update, a refresh,” said Miller.

Some of the changes that regular patrons and visitors will see this spring include two new offices, a more open concept with several display cabinets, a new location for the sponsor and donation feature wall, several accessibility upgrades (including accessible washrooms) and a new sitting area.

“What this (renovation) will also allow us to do is to change our displays a little more frequently, so that we can have different looks and different views throughout the years,” said Miller, noting there are new spaces for children to use and one for museum members, volunteers and visitors to meet and enjoy a coffee break while touring the facility.   

“So it’s a place for people to come and socialize and spend some time (at the museum),” said Miller. “When people come into the museum, if you take the full tour, you can spend two to three hours in here.”

The Westlock and District Tractor Museum Foundation owns and operates the Canadian Tractor Museum as a non profit group and they budgeted $25,000 for the renovation project, although Miller believes the cost will come in well below that amount.
Despite being denied a couple of federal grants this year, they did receive a considerable donation after a longtime museum supporter believed to be in the Edmonton area stepped up to help ensure the needed renovations could be completed.

“I don’t know this individual, I’ve never met him, but he donated $15,000 to the museum. He’s been donating a small amount every year and this year when he came in, he asked if there were any projects (he could help with),” said Miller, noting the money comes with no restrictions.

“It’s for us to use. Whether it’s for this project or any other project,” he added.

Miller said having that kind of support speaks to the important role the museum has in the community and across the province.

"Museums are the biggest charity on the planet with no return other than people enjoying the space,” he said. “It’s a real testament to these people (volunteers) here.”

The Canadian Tractor Museum opens to the public on the May long weekend each year and with the renovations complete this spring, they will celebrate a special 20th anniversary event at the end of May.
“We’ve just started planning for that,” said Miller. “The board has recognized that it’s time to move the museum to the next level and this is just the start.”

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Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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