archives files
Archives, Our Stories

Acquisitions: To Accept a Donation . . . or Not?

On March 17, 2015, the Cut Knife Chamber of Commerce dissolved. The organization had been a part of the Town since, at least, the 1970s and had hosted some well loved community traditions including the May Long Weekend Garage Sale, Oktoberfest and the Canada Day Pancake Breakfast at the Museum. However, now that it had disbanded, the question arose: What was to become of its records?

The first box of materials – with signed Transfer of Ownership, to the right. The items will be organized along timelines, described, filed in archival boxes and stored.

The Clayton McLain Memorial Museum and Archives has established a set of guidelines that helps us to determine whether, or not, a potential donation fits our mandate. These criteria were designed to keep us on track. Our display space, our storage space and our volunteer resources are limited. By following our Significance Worksheet,we eliminate duplication and we maintain the museum’s focus on the stories directly relevant to the area.

Honestly, if it were up to the individuals of the Acquisitions Committee and the Board of Trustees, we’d probably take in everything that was offered to the Museum. Most of us have a weakness for collections, for antiques, for documents and books or for items of a sentimental nature but that approach is unworkable. So, we’ve set up a procedural based upon what other museums are doing and we work at creating a unique, manageable collection reflective of the people, events and history of the Cut Knife area.

The Archives is a climate and light controlled, dust and pest free area.

The records of the Cut Knife Chamber of Commerce will be accepted into the Archives because they fit – to a tee – the requirement for historical significance: “. . . collection [that] contributes to changing the course of local history or [has] an impact on development of community.” The boxes of materials will be processed and, in time, will be available to the public for viewing or research.

~ Debbie M.


SK Archives Week 2015


The Clayton McLain Memorial Museum and Archives will celebrate Saskatchewan Archives Week 2015 with the presentation of two online events at

At noon on Wednesday, February 4th, “The History of the Cut Knife Downtown Business District” will make its website debut. This page will feature the research put together by CMMM volunteers for the Town of Cut Knife’s Centennial celebrations in 2012.

Information was sourced from the CMMM Archives, the Highway 40 Courier, local history books and local residents with long memories. The signage was originally displayed outdoors over the 2012 summer season. By uploading these documents to our website, we are pleased to be able to contribute to Saskatchewan’s online documentary heritage.

The second event, at noon on Friday, February 6th, will introduce a Genealogy Resource page for all those working on family histories. This should be considered a work-in-progress as the addition of relevant website links will be ongoing.

Please note the Museum Administration and Archives Centre (MAAC) is closed for the winter. These are online events at:

For more information, call (306) 398-2345 or email

archives week 2015 poster
2015 Archives Week poster

~ Debbie M.

Archives, Our Stories

Ancient Trail Mapped


manitou lake battleford trail by lloyd how
By Lloyd How

Lloyd How’s interest in local history and archaeology is reflected in a new acquisition to our archives.

Ancient trails crisscrossed this country mapping the routes that were used by the First Nations, the European explorers, the North West Mounted Police and then the immigrants that followed. One such trail crossed the lands that Lloyd and his wife, Noreen, lived on before they retired to the town of Cut Knife. They both grew up seeing the evidence of the trail as indentations in the prairie soil and recognizing that it is disappearing.

This ancient trail was used by the local River Cree as they traveled from the area where the Battle and Saskatchewan Rivers joined at the Eagle Hills (Battleford) to Manitou Lake, Sounding Lake and further into Alberta. These lakes are considered sacred by the First Nations and were often visited via the trail.

Anthony Henday used this trail in 1745 as he made his way through what is now Western Canada.

Along the trail are many areas that were used for centuries for camping, hunting and trapping. Lloyd consulted local Cree elder, Wally Simaganis, written historical accounts, and locals who remembered seeing the trail. Then he spent countless hours exploring and mapping.

Thank you, Lloyd and Wally, for all of your work in the mapping of this ancient trail to keep alive stories of this corridor and the fading memories of those who walked or rode along it.

~ Lucille B.