Edmonton

Carry a sign at a Women's March in Alberta? It could end up in a museum

Signs held by ralliers at Women's Marches in Alberta with messages like "Princess Leia sent me" or "Girls just want to have fun-damental rights" could one day find their way into the Royal Alberta Museum.

Royal Alberta Museum collected signs from the marches for potential future exhibit

One of the signs that was at Calgary's Women's March in January. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

Signs held by ralliers at Women's Marches in Alberta with messages like "Princess Leia sent me" or "Girls just want to have fun-damental rights" could one day find their way into the Royal Alberta Museum.

Julia Petrov, the museum's curator of western Canadian history, enlisted her friends to collect signs from the recent marches across Alberta.

The marches were among hundreds around the world organized after U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration.

"I didn't sort of expect to do it," Petrov told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"But as the course of the day wore on, it became really obvious [because] over 10,000 people marched in Calgary and Edmonton and Lethbridge, and around the province.

"This was a big deal to Albertans, and I really wanted to mark that occasion somehow."

Participants held placards with serious and sentimental slogans at the march in Edmonton. (Phil LaPlante/CBC)

Petrov said the signs were collected from the marches, when many attendees left them there afterward.

The signs ranged from similar messages seen at different women's marches across North America to more personal ones — and even some with creative uses for emojis. 

"I'm looking forward to explaining those to future generations of Albertans: why a poop emoji is important," she said.

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'Those signs might be relevant'

Unfortunately, there won't be much room for a potential exhibit for the signs any time soon, though.

The Royal Alberta Museum is in the midst of moving to its new location in downtown Edmonton. The space is about double the size of its previous location, but all the galleries for the museum's opening — which is expected in late 2017 — have already been decided.

The signs may make their way into a future exhibit, though Petrov isn't sure when that will be.

"It's very possible that at some point in the future we do have storylines about things like protests, about things like gender, that those signs might be relevant," she said.

Another sign from the march in Calgary. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

Above all, Petrov said she hopes collecting the signs shows the diversity the museum is striving for.

"It's going to be a real cultural centre," she said.

"I think a lot of people do think of the Royal Alberta Museum as a place for your grandmother's sewing machine — and we do have lots of those — but we do try to be proactive when it's something like this.

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