A newly established museum in the Province stopped in Portage la Prairie as their research of the history of some original gaols in Manitoba continues.
"Preserving Our Past to Honour Our Future" is the line that the Corrections Museum of Manitoba is going with. On August 3rd, Peter Korzeniowski, curator for the museum, came to Portage to dig a little bit deeper into the stories from the legacy of the Agassiz Youth Centre (AYC) and the Manitoba Developmental Centre (MDC).
Korzeniowski says his group started work on the museum eight years ago. He was in town earlier this month to talk with Mayor Ferris and the former superintendent Terry Remple of AYC to discuss the history of the youth centre.
"They were able to share a lot of pictures, oral stories and newspaper articles. That’s the kind of stuff we are looking for. Stories from those who have spent time in Manitoba’s jails as a youth, and stories from people who worked with the youth. We want to be able to tell some of the good stories”
“There are plenty of stories related to well-known criminals and various crimes in Manitoba but there are few stories related to those who have been through the criminal justice system, overcome their troubles and turned their lives around for the better. There are also very few stories of victims who were subject to various life-changing crimes and the effects those crimes had on them and their families.”
The curator says that the museum has enough items and artifacts, some over 100 years old, to put into a museum, but the group is currently in talks with the province about getting a space to display the items.
"Once we have the space for a physical Museum, then we'll be open to the public."
Korzeniowski points to the fact that corrections are something that doesn’t usually get talked about enough. That's something he hopes this museum will start to change by educating the public about what both inmates and staff do in Corrections and the changes that have occurred over history.
"We're not like the police, and we're not like the firefighters where they publicly share their history and they have their own museums. So, now we are hopefully going to have a physical museum where we can share our stories and we now have the full support of Corrections Manitoba and the government. We are slowly moving forward and hope to have a home soon."
“The Corrections Museum of Manitoba currently has a small temporary display inside the Winnipeg Police Museum and currently otherwise exists as a virtual Museum, sharing history to the public through Facebook, Instagram and our website. We encourage the community to follow us, help us continue to grow, and reach out to others who may be able to provide further history.
Korzeniowski notes that if anyone has any artifacts or good stories from someone that has been, or knows of, someone in corrections, to share those with him at firstname.lastname@example.org