Even though Hazel Hopkins passed away in July 2012, her contribution to the creation of the Heritage North Museum is still felt to this day.
The museum’s board of directors made this sentiment very clear on June 30, when they officially named their art gallery the Hazel Hopkins Art Gallery.
A good number of attendees crammed into this space for Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, an event that featured short speeches from local dignitaries such as Mayor Dennis Fenske, MLA Kelly Bindle and Heritage North Museum executive director Tanna Teneycke.
This group of speakers also included Doreen Lindquist, who worked closely with Hopkins at Heritage North Museum and Deerwood School.
“After retirement, Hazel needed an outlet in which to channel her boundless energy,” said Lindquist. “She saw the need for the preservation of the stories of the people in this area who came to find work, while also recognizing the cultures of people from the surrounding communities.”
In addition to gathering these unique stories, Lindquist said that Hopkins also co-ordinated with the city, local volunteers and local contractors to help lay the foundation for the building’s creation. Because of her efforts, the Heritage North Museum officially opened its doors in 1990 and even managed to become a “star attraction” for Travel Manitoba in the intervening years.
Lindquist said that Hopkins also made a point of setting aside space at the museum to showcase local artists, which is one of the many reasons why the art gallery now bears her name.
According to Fenske, Hopkins’s contribution to the Heritage North Museum also reflects Thompson’s development throughout the past 60 years, from a bare bones mining town to a bustling community with its own rich history.
“Growing up as a kid we didn’t have a history because we weren’t old enough,” he said. “We’re now second, third, fourth generations, and it’s proof from our now MLA who was born here to many of you who have grandkids here … it speaks to the quality of the fabric of this community.”
Throughout the month of July and August, the Heritage North Museum is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.