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Room to be creative at museum
New assistant event co-ordinator launches Fort Smith's museum on social media platforms

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 20, 2013

Grace Sherwin is enjoying the creative freedom of her new job in Fort Smith.

NNSL photo/graphic

Grace Sherwin is the assistant events and administrative co-ordinator at the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre in Fort Smith. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

In early March, she was hired as the assistant events and administrative co-ordinator at the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre, after working for three years at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, a prestigious hotel in Toronto.

"I really like that in a smaller kind of organization, you have more room to be creative with things," said the 24-year-old, who is originally from Edmonton, but grew up in Ontario.

"In my old jobs, I would never have been able to come up with ideas for events that would actually happen without having to run it by like 20 different people. So there's a lot more room to be creative and flexible."

Sherwin said the goal is to get community members more involved with Northern Life Museum.

"I do have a lot of experience with marketing and that kind of thing, as well, so I've been using that a lot, especially with social media," she noted. "Before I came here, we weren't on Facebook, we weren't on Twitter, and now we are."

Since starting work at the museum, Sherwin has come up with a list of ideas, with the input of management, for the museum's summer calendar.

"One of the things that I'm looking forward to is we're going to do a workshop on legendary storybooks," she said, explaining children will be invited to make their own storybooks based on aboriginal legends.

Another of her ideas is a canine carnival, hopefully in conjunction with the Fort Smith Animal Shelter and the Town of Fort Smith, where people can get their dogs registered and enter them in obedience school.

There will also be a make-your-own-kite workshop, and at the end of the year, the museum will have a fall feast from food it hopes to grow in a garden plot at Mission Park.

"The idea would be that we'll grow all the food and, at the end of harvest time, we'll make soups and different items out of it and have a feast that will be open to the public," said Sherwin, adding the event will hopefully raise funds for the museum.

Sherwin is also excited about the opportunity to work at the Northern Life Museum.

"This was the perfect job opportunity for me and I'm super happy to be here," she said, adding she had never worked in a museum before.

Sherwin has a diploma in a two-year food and beverage management course from Fanshawe College in Ontario.

She said her best friend lives in Fort Smith as well, which spurred her decision to "go on an adventure and come up North."

"I wanted to have kind of a change of scenery and had a little bit of the travel bug," she said.

So far, she is enjoying Northern life compared to Toronto.

"Transiting from that big city to kind of the small town has been really nice because I grew up in a small town," she said. "So it's just kind of nice so far and I really enjoy working here."

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