Most patrons of the Soo Line Historical Museum are actually tourists, some of whom even come to Weyburn just to see the local attractions.
Tourists have no trouble finding the museum, thanks to easily-seen signs on the highways, in addition to proper representation in tourism publications.
Many families that are new to Weyburn, however, may never have been inside the unique facility, which is located along the beautiful Souris River, just east of Third Street and just south of Railway Avenue.
"We are getting a lot of tourist traffic and people coming in from other areas," said museum manager Joan Gregory. "But we are trying to get our own folks in here."
Gregory said that having locals visit the museum is vitally important for keeping Weyburn's history alive.
Patrons benefit museums by keeping the facilities running, but more importantly, the experience of connecting to the local history does truly enrich the lives of the patrons.
There are plenty of reasons for tourists to travel from far and wide to visit Weyburn's museum. How about heading into the Pioneer Room to see the eight-legged calf?
Since 1997, the feature attraction of the museum has been a breath-taking silver collection. Originally collected by Charlie Wilson, a Weyburn area farmer who passed away in 1995, the spectacular collection is the largest privately-owned silver collection in the world. There are 3,333 pieces that date from 1750 to 1972. There are also more than 1,700 pieces of brass, china, crystal, and antique furniture within his collection.
Gregory hopes that the current temporary display will also attract more local visitors. Weyburn's Larry Pearson has recently installed a military exhibit in the space, which coincides with the museum's current path of exploration.
"We have this display to help us get some information on a war brides book we're trying to publish," said Gregory.
The military exhibit includes a number of items that were used directly and daily by soldiers. There is an 1870s bayonet rifle on display, as well as a variety of uniforms that belong to the museum. A number of World War I items continue to be displayed, with the addition of a WWI trench typewriter that is on loan from a local family.
Pearson said he wanted to bring in some modern items, so the display could be updated, lending glimpses into the lives of modern soldiers. Of particular relevance to Weyburn residents, Pearson has also included items that belonged to Weyburn's own Royal Canadian Naval Captain Juli-Ann Mackenzie, who died at the age of 30 during a rescue mission in 2002. Mackenzie's flight coveralls and other items are on loan from her father, Rick.
Pearson said there is always a home for old military items.
"Anyone who finds old uniforms or medals or anything related to army or military," he said, "never throw that stuff away, there is always a museum that wants it."
The military exhibition will remain on display at the Soo Line Historical Museum until the end of November.
In an effort to make history fun and to fundraise locally, the museum is currently running a twenty week long 'Hunt for History' using Historical Geocoaching.
"It is really a fantastic way to be active and to learn about Weyburn's history," said Susan Nedelcov-Anderson, a Weyburn resident who recently attended a Geocoaching event. "They have put together a really neat opportunity for people of all ages."
The coordinates change every week and participants are provided with information about the historical significance of each location, complete with old pictures, on a hidden cache.
"They've gone to a lot of work to try something new," said Nedelcov-Anderson. Prizes are won each week and the program runs until October 2. Tickets are available at the museum. "Each week the ticket books are one dollar less, as they started out at $20 for 20 weeks, now they are $17, as three weeks have passed," said Joan Gregory on June 6.
A barbeque fundraiser will be held for the museum on June 14, on the deck at Co-op Foods from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
A garage sale will be held at the Museum (411 Industrial Lane) on June 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the museum.
Residents can also look forward to a museum float in the Canada Day parade this year.