Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/12/2011 (2961 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Not all Winnipeggers may be familiar with the Manitoba Electrical Museum, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. But most would recognize the bright yellow, 15-foot-long solid steel hydraulic turbine runner that stands in front of the museum.
The giant propeller on Harrow Street south of Taylor Avenue is easily visible from Stafford Street. It started its life in 1923, spinning at 90 revolutions per minute at the Great Falls Generating Station on the Winnipeg River for 66 years. After a career in which the 28,000-horsepower blades generated 7.5 billion kilowatts of power, Manitoba Hydro replaced it and moved it to its current location, where it serves the slightly less stressful job of being a landmark.
"It's a great landmark. It just beckons you right into the museum," said Jenett Richter, the museum's administrator.
"You get a piece of history before you even enter the building."
The building the museum calls home was built in 1931 to supply electricity to southern Winnipeg from the brand-new Seven Sisters Generating Station on the Winnipeg River. It was originally known as the Fort Garry Station, then the Harrow Street Terminal Station, and was staffed 24 hours a day.
Today, the building is still a fully functioning operating station, as well as a museum.
As you enter, the front lobby has working control panels behind glass that still provide power to southern Winnipeg. The station is computer-operated by a system control centre in Fort Garry and is heated and cooled by geothermal power.
The endearing little museum, which was busy Saturday, is mostly run by volunteers who are retired Manitoba Hydro workers. The employees "love sharing the story and welcoming people, and telling them all about the museum," Richter said.
Among the educational display highlights are a replica of one of Winnipeg's 1909 streetcars, an 1879 Edison direct-current bipole dynamo, which is believed to be the oldest piece of electrical equipment in Manitoba, and a mock-up of a 1940s-era kitchen. Also on display is Alex Trician, a 12-foot-tall friendly robot made from more than 50 household appliances.
"It's a great way to come out, learn a lot about your province... and get an understanding of the story of how electricity is produced in our province," Richter said.
"These guys are amazing," said Ida Lang, a teacher from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate who was visiting the museum. "This is one of my favourite places. There's just so much to see." She brings her special-needs students to the museum for field trips.
"I want to bring my mom. She's 86!"
Dropping In is a 'random act of journalism' that starts with a thumbtack on a city map and ends with a story from the street