M U S E U M D E V E L O P M E N T , - H I S T O R Y
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|Stan Reynolds: The Collector|
|Grand Opening September 12, 1992|
Stanley George Reynolds was born in Wetaskiwin, Alberta in 1923. Stan developed an early interest in cars and machinery by working in his father Ted’s garage after school and on weekends. A fascination with airplanes prompted him to join the Royal Canadian Air Force at 18 years of age, and he became one of the youngest pilots to fly Beau-fighters and Mosquitoes, last serving with 410-night fighter squadron.
After leaving the R.C.A.F. in 1945, Stan settled down in Wetaskiwin and started up his own car dealership at the age of 22. The motto for his business was “We take anything on trade.” It was not only a love of machinery that he inherited from his father, but a love of collecting as well.
Beginning with the 1911 Overland, Stan began to amass an incredible collection of cars, airplanes, machinery, military artifacts, Indian artifacts, toys and other items. He often flew around the Wetaskiwin area examining what was in farmers’ fields. He was even known to land and to make a deal right on the spot. In 1955, he founded the Reynolds Museum in order to share his collections with the public.
By 1974, Stan Reynolds was dreaming of an even greater project: a spectacular new museum to be built in Wetaskiwin, and approached the Alberta Government with his dreams.
The Dream Becomes Reality
On December 30th, 1981, Stan Reynolds donated a significant portion of his huge collection to the Province of Alberta, to form the basis of the collection for the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. A committee of experts was appointed to review the thousands of artifacts in Mr. Reynolds collection and choose these, which best represented Alberta’s transportation, agricultural and industrial heritage.
By 1985, the Selection Committee had completed its task and had chosen 860 artifacts. With further acquisitions and donations from Stan and other sources, the collection has now grown to more than 5000 significant pieces. Restoration and conservation of artifacts began in 1982 and is ongoing today.
Ground was broken for the main museum building June 26, 1988, with exhibit construction beginning in early 1991. Also in 1991, an agreement was reached between the Provincial Government and Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, which provided for the relocation of the Hall of Fame to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum aviation exhibit.
The Reynolds-Alberta Museum, a project of Alberta Community Development and Alberta Public Works Supply and Services, was officially opened by the Premier Don Getty on September 12th, 1992.
The dream had become a reality!