My name is Amanda, and I work in Guest Services at Lougheed House. If you’ve come to visit, you’ve likely met me at the front desk. Guests often tell me that I have one of Calgary’s most beautiful work spaces, and I couldn’t agree more! As a student of museums and heritage it’s a dream come true to work at Lougheed House with the collections and stories that this fascinating place holds.
I’ve asked Caroline if I could write a guest post to share some of my favorite artifacts from around the House. Besides helping guests, I also work with the interpretation team here at the House, and I’m so excited to have the chance to share some of the artifacts that tell important stories of our past.
One of my favorite things about the house is to look through the Stag stained glass window (#4). I have the luxury of seeing it at all different times of the day, and watching the light change and play with the beautiful pastel colors. The window faces north, at the end of the hallway on the second floor. In the Lougheed’s time it would have looked out upon the fledgling city, slowing growing towards the house radiating out from Stephen Avenue and the rail line. Besides its beauty, the window has a historic significance all its own; it’s made by McCausland and Company of Toronto. They are still in business today – the oldest surviving stained glass studio in North America.
As I pass by the Stag, into the landing and down the stairs to the main floor I am confronted by another favorite artifact, the Lougheed’s Telephone (#5). It was one of the first telephones in Calgary, which is why the telephone number was 77. Likely, the majority of calls were made to the senator’s law firm – Lougheed and Bennett – at number 21. In essence, the line acted more like an intercom than what we now know as a telephone. The location of the phone was probably not where you see it today at the end of the Main Hall. Likely, it would not have been in plain sight at all, since it would have probably been answered by staff, who we unfortunately know very little about.
I spend most of my day at Lougheed House on the Ballroom level, which is the lowest level of the house, but I like the idea of working in a ballroom better than a basement. Underneath the original house, there were bunkers established when the house and gardens were renovated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The bunkers house our collections and archives, where items are stored for later display. One of my favorite things in the collection is a small toy record player (#6). It reminds me that this Historic Site was actually a home, and that children lived and played here once.
Thanks so much for reading, next time you come to the House I’d love to hear about your favorite artifacts too. I often ask guests, especially young folks, what their favorite stained glass animal is. Now that you know mine, have a look as you’re walking around and let me know which one you like best. Wishing you a wonderful day, and looking forward to seeing you soon,
-Amanda, Lead Interpreter