What is an Ecomuseum?
Kalyna Country Ecomuseum is a “heritage” and eco-tourism district that invites exploration by visitors from near and far and helps preserve the unique historical, cultural, and natural features of the landscape. Kalyna Country is a “living” outdoor museum encompassing 20,000 sq kms in rural East Central Alberta. Instead of going to one building or site to see exhibits and artifacts, visitors are instead encouraged to travel around the area to learn about the past, the living cultures of the communities, the landscape and the natural recreation areas. Create your own adventure and enjoy the ecomuseum experience which is meant to be as enjoyable as it is educational!
The Kalyna Country Ecomuseum was established in 1991 – 1992 on the initiative of the Alberta Historic Sites and Archives Service, and the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta.
To start with, it is probably easiest to think of an ecomuseum as a broadly-defined “heritage” district that invites exploration by visitors from near and far. It helps to know that the original meaning of the Greek word, “eco”, is “home”, so an ecomuseum can be literally defined as “a place where people live which is interpreted (or presented) in the manner of maseion”. Instead of going to one building or site to see exhibits and artifacts, visitors are encouraged to travel around a designated territory to learn about the past, the geography, and the living cultures of the communities that are organized under the umbrella concept of an ecomuseum. Of course, traditional museums, natural areas, and historic sites are an integral part of most ecomuseums, but these are only some the exhibits illuminating a region’s heritage and lifestyle. Local events (life festivals, rodeos, and fairs), area residents, and the landscape itself, are all important elements in any experience, which is meant to be as enjoyable as it is educational. That is why visitors are also urged to participate in traditional recreational activities offered by ecomuseum communities – such as golfing, swimming, shopping, dining out, fishing, snowmobiling, trail riding, etcetera – while staying overnight at local motels, bed & breakfasts, or campgrounds. That way, you get to know an ecomuseum inside and out!