The Millet Museum created the Millet's Pioneer Women exhibit to celebrate our own local women's contributions. As quoted by the CARMN project - "official" history all to frequently ignored the contribution of women. While the notion of the "hand that rocked the cradle ruling the world" is often citied, with respect to museum collections, the contextual material around the lives of girls and women is not generally collected. Domestic artifacts comprise a huge volume of community museum collections but the women who used them and gave them the patina of age are nowhere described or felt. Where women espouse "male" roles, as politicians and policy makers, they are captured in community histories. But all of those "nameless" and "faceless" women who are brides, mothers, sisters, aunts, teachers, nurses -- all of those ways in which women function in communities -- are frequently missing from the pages of history. The Exhibit begins to give these women their rightful play and makes them visible so that their stories can help us to understand the larger Canadian story.
Millet's Pioneer Women 2011
Dorothy Trathen is a woman whose life became devoted to her community. Quickly growing to become a pillar within Millet, Dorothy has contributed to all facets of the town. Dorothy was born and raised in the Millet area. After becoming chairman of the Board of Trade, Dorothy developed the Millet Boy Scouts, and was Cubmaster for 10 years. Continuing on to join the Rebekah Lodge in 1943, Dorothy served as District Deputy President three times. During one of her terms as president, Dorothy aided in instituting the Camrose Lodge. In addition, Dorothy began the Millet Tellim Newspaper, a free newspaper aimed at informing the community about events and news. For her accomplishments Dorothy was awarded with the “Celebration 88” Award, the Millet Distinguished Senior Citizen award as well as the Alberta Achievement Award in the service category.
Anna Kruger immigrated to Canada from Poland in 1931. During this time her husband, Gustav, had already attained a job, but the family was in need of further financial support. Anna, having attained her Professional Seamstress Certificate in Poland, took it upon herself to use her sewing skills to bring in further income. Quickly finding a demand for a seamstress in Millet, Anna grew to be renowned for her quality and custom work. From hemming men’s trousers to constructing women’s wedding gowns, Anna was a woman whose business was driven by her skill. Shaping her life around family, friendship, sharing and ambition, Anna Kruger was a woman who recognized a demand within her community and met it.
Throughout her life Ruth Howes was a dedicated mother, grandmother and great-grandmother as well as being an active member of the community through her work in the Women’s Institute. Ruth was very active within the Alberta Women’s Institute. However she always made time for her family no matter how busy she got with travelling for the organization. This dedication is shown through the dresses that she made her granddaughters that are on display. Ruth had a personality that made people listen to her. It is said that people did not question what she said, but just did what she said needed to be done.
A devout, dedicated and community based individual, Muriel Smith was a quintessential woman in the community of Millet, setting an example for generations to come. Muriel was dedicated to her family. She dealt with the difficulty of raising her youngest son who suffered from Down’s syndrome, when at that time there were no resources allocated for such a challenge. The rugs featured are her handiwork, as she did a lot of rug making, sewing, knitting and other such things during her free time.
Jean Scott is an inspiration and role model to her community. As an avid historian she recognizes the importance of preserving the local history of Millet for her fellow community members and the generations to come. Jean was born on her parent’s farm in the Hillside district. Jean became a teacher after attending Normal School. She married Jerry Scott in 1947 and they had 3 children. Jean was involved in various community activities such as the Rebekah Lodge and the Home and School Assoc. Jean became involved in the Millet and District Historical Society and contributed to projects such as the John A. Smith Manor, the “Tales and Trails” books and building the new museum. It is because Jean is an avid historian that the archives room has been dedicated to her.
Jeane Thompson valued rural life and her family. Her caring nature was reflected in her support of various community organizations. She also recognized the need to record and preserve the history of Millet. Jeane grew up in the rural Millet area on the Ross-Thompson farm. As she explored the farm she became interested in the environment especially the plants native to the area. You can see this through her extensive seed collection. Jeane became a school teacher and then went back to university and received a degree in commerce. She worked for the Alberta Wheat Pool and the U.F.A. Jeane inspired the book “Tales and Trails” which gives the history of Millet and the 13 surrounding school districts. She passed away before the book was completed and the book has been dedicated to her.
Winnifred Ross recognized the importance of education standards in rural areas. Her independence led her to be the influence behind changes in education, agriculture and healthcare. When Winnifred moved to the Ross Thompson Farm she became involved in many community activities, most importantly the U.F.W.A. She started in the local Millet group and soon became the provincial director a position that she held for 13 years until she became the vice president for 6 yrs and the president 5 years following that. She also served on the Canadian Research Committee on practical education the Alberta Council of Child and Family Welfare. Winnifreds hard work implemented changes that we still see today in our healthcare, education systems. In 1974 she was inducted into the Agriculture Hall of Fame.
As a friend of the community her whole life, Jo Moonen helped organize the Millet & District Historical Society. One can see this in her Military Commemorative Wall in the Millet Museum, recognizing Millet area men and women who put their lives at risk for ours. Jo is extremely active in the museum, you can see this in her 2005 centennial award that she was given. She has also been active in the community by making baskets of jams and jelly’s to take to her neighbors. She is very well known for her ability to make amazing meals and home made buns. Her family and numerous friends enjoyed her specialty throughout the years.
Helen Moonen was ahead of her time leading by example, and a strong source of insight and strength. She dedicated her life to helping women become the best they could be. Displayed in Helen’s case are things from her life. She was known for never going anywhere without a hat. She always had a plate full of cinnamon buns to take to events with her. Helen was an avid gardener, and her home made tools are displayed to the left of the case.