Description of Historic Place
The Prairie Pioneer Museum is a Municipal Heritage Property located at 541 Parks Road in the Town of Craik. The property features five single-storey, wood-frame buildings and a stone cairn.
The heritage value of the Prairie Pioneer Museum lies in its association with the development of community awareness and appreciation of Saskatchewan’s cultural heritage in the mid-twentieth century. The concept for a museum came from a 1965 Women’s Institute meeting, and was implemented between 1966 and 1968, featuring many pioneer artifacts and interpreting the history of the Craik district. Between 1955 and 1967, many Saskatchewan communities took a greater and more active interest in preserving aspects of their pioneer heritage, including collecting artifacts from the homestead era, and restoring buildings dating to the time of original settlement. Very seldom did such activity take place before 1955. This increase in the preservation of Saskatchewan’s built heritage and of historic and pre-contact artifacts was one notable result of heritage promotion during the years leading up to and just after the 1955 Saskatchewan Jubilee celebrations and the 1967 Canadian Centennial celebrations.
Heritage value of the property also lies in the grounds and buildings selected for development of the museum complex. The museum uses mainly historic buildings to display its collection of artifacts. These buildings include the one-room Sprattville and Cherry Grove Schools, the Beecher Farmhouse, a building from the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), and the Charlie Heinen Museum, a one-storey wood-frame building which was relocated from Aylesbury. The property also includes a small modern structure that houses a display of historic printing equipment. The buildings were chosen to interpret various aspects of community history.
The heritage value of the property also lies in its ability to educate people within and outside the community. It reminds the community and visitors alike of a time when such buildings were generally much smaller than comparable modern structures, and are representative of the eras wherein they were constructed. In addition, an accompanying stone cairn and plaque recognizes the importance of this site to the region and the efforts that the community has made to preserve its heritage. The artifacts likewise demonstrate the kinds of furnishings, tools and other items that were once commonplace in early-twentieth century Saskatchewan communities.
Heritage value of the property also lies in the vernacular architectural design of the buildings, which includes simple gable roofs with little or no ornamentation, rectangular forms, limited massing, wooden drop siding, and vertical, double-hung windows, features that were representative of early-twentieth century settlement in many parts of western Canada.
Town of Craik Bylaw No. 10/97.
The heritage value of the Prairie Pioneer Museum at Craik resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those features that reflect the property’s association with the development of community awareness of its cultural heritage in the mid-twentieth century, such as the cairn that recognizes the establishment of the museum;
-those features that reflect the site’s special importance as a museum, such as the inclusion of various heritage buildings within a specified space;
-those features that reflect the property’s ability to educate people, such as the housing of interpretive displays inside the buildings and on the grounds of the museum complex;
-those features of the Sprattville and Cherry Grove Schools that reflect the buildings’ vernacular design and original use, particularly the use of white-painted wooden drop siding; a bank of multiple wooden windows on the north façade; the steep-pitched gable roofs; and a bell tower;
-those features of the BCATP building that reflect its period of construction, such as its simple rectangular form, the medium-pitched gable roof; white-painted wooden drop siding; and rectangular, double-hung wooden windows;
-those features of the Beecher Farmhouse that reflect its agricultural origins, such as the rectangular form, with a lean-to rear annex; the steep-pitched roof; the rectangular, double-hung wooden windows; and the white-painted wooden drop siding;
-those features of the Heinen Museum building that reflect its original use as a pioneer home, such as its simple rectangular form; the low-pitched gable roof; the white-painted wooden drop siding; and the vertical, double-hung wooden windows;
-those features of the modern building housing the print shop display that reflect its ability to integrate well with the rest of the museum complex, such as its simple rectangular form, low-pitched gable roof; and white-painted drop siding.