CHAPS needs a secretary

Duties normally take just 3 hours a month and include:

– Main duty is attending meetings and taking minutes doing up agendas.
– Keep and update membership list.
– Organize and send out AGM notices
– Check CHAPS emails and forward to appropriate person
– Check CHAPS phone for messages and forward to appropriate person ( not a lot of use at this point)
– Keep and maintain CHAPS office

Usually 2 – 3 hours a week depending on meetings. Time is in small increments, usually in your own schedule.

CHAPS sends condolences

CHAPS would like to recognize the passing of the subjects of two of our recent stories. Horst Wirsig, who told the stories of his family’s immigration and adventures after World War II passed away in January. Bob Smith who told stories of Seebe, Lake Minnewanka, photography and nature also passed away in January.

Both had their stories captured on video in the Oral History Project (History Resource Committee, M.D. Bighorn).

CHAPS sends our condolences to family and friends.

How did you celebrate Heritage Day?

Heritage Day is the first Monday in August. How did you spend yours?

Some of our members chose to volunteer a few hours and did some much needed yard work around the Cochrane Historical Museum. Thanks to Shannon, Gayle and Larry who have been devoted members for approx. 20 years. They worked on weeding and seeding the berm we put up to protect the Museum from and future flooding.

Do you have a few hours a month? Why not volunteer with CHAPS and contribute to the cultural heritage of our area. We have many roles to fill.

Volunteer Week 2020

April 19-25 is National Volunteer Week. We have much to be grateful for:

Many of our posts this month have been taken from “Big Hill Country”. I’ve found some extraordinary stories of our past. I’ve come to appreciate the enormous effort from those volunteers. Please take a look at the images that follow.

CHAPS is the organization that funds and runs the Cochrane Historical Museum. We thank all our volunteers that research and develop exhibits, educate members and the public at monthly meetings, staff the museum while dressed in period clothes and those that fund raise to allow the continued operation of the Museum and Projects.

We are in extraordinary times. CHAPS would like to thank all the volunteers and organizations that are looking after our community.

We’d like to hear your story of life during the pandemic. Your story could become the basis of a future exhibit, video, or social media post.

Dedication Big Hill Country by Marjorie Spicer
The Pioneers by Fred Kidd MLA
Lt. Gov Ralph Steinhauer Q.C.

Recovering from the flood, Looking forward

Our exhibits this summer are really coming together. We cant wait to show you.

All our exhibits will reflect how horses impacted the growth of our town. We’re certain well have some facts that you didn’t know.

This past year has been a challenge with 2 floods of the Cochrane Ranche. The Museum is put back together but we’re still working on restoring or replacing some of our exhibits. Here is a slide show that shows our progress.


Thank you Cochrane Foundation!

CHAPS wants to thank the Cochrane Foundation for their support. We just had a grant approved that we’ll use to improve our exhibit cabinets. We’ll celebrate with the rest of the grant receivers later this spring.

You’re invited to come out to the Museum and see the results when we open for the spring/summer season.

If you’d like to know more about the Cochrane Foundation and the work they do click the button.

Introducing our 2020 CHAPS Executive

Here is our 2019/2020 Executive.

President – Larry Want


Vice President – Tony Turner

Photo Soon

Secretary – Bernice Klotz

Treasurer – Donna Morris


Gordon Davies – Past President

Director – Mike Taylor

Director – Frank Hennessey

Director – Mark Boothby

My Volunteer Story – Mark Boothby

CHAPS is looking for volunteers. We have a role for people with any type of time commitment. I’ve read that may non-profits attract people by existing members explaining their experience. Given that, I want to share what I gain by volunteering.

The above photo is one of our Grand Father at the time of the opening of the Legion. My volunteer experience has turned up several photos of family I’d not seen before.

I grew up in this area but pursued careers away for several decades. My wife and I returned just a couple of years ago to a town much different. We wanted to meet people and renew acquaintances so we looked for opportunities.

When I was young my parents and brothers went on many drives through the area. Both parents grew up here and we heard many stories. I’ve come regret that I didn’t really pay attention and forgot most of the details.

I heard about CHAPS and the Cochrane Historical Museum from a teacher and coach Gordon Davies. That convinced me I should get involved.


One of my jobs has been to refresh our website whose style and content had become dated.  Since one of my careers had been in Information Technology, I was happy to take on the task and develop the site with alot of help from contractors, photographers and volunteers.

Just recently, I came across this display about our grand parents in the Museum. It contains a very nice write up and photos. Many, if not most of the details I’d not been aware of.


One of my projects has been to electronically scan CHAPS albums. I’ve come across many photos of family that I’d not seen prior, like this one of our dad on the right, next to life time friend Bob Beynon.

I’ve gotten involved in research for this blog and for an article series for the Cochrane Times. While looking for and researching those articles I came across this drawing my dad did for my aunt Audrey Brown. I’d had an idea Dad had drawn but I’d never seen him do it. I was delighted at his talent and sense of humour. I’d only heard him called Billy by one person my whole life, yet that was how he signed it.

During the development of our social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube I’ve met people that I would not have without this volunteer opportunity.

I’m very happy to have been involved in a project on our YouTube channel that CHAPS sponsored years ago called 100 Stories for 100 Years.  The idea of that program was to capture some of the historical and simply people stories about Cochrane and area. Those videos have been in our archives for years but are now visible to people on YouTube. The videos contain many interesting and historical stories.

As time flies by, I’m very happy to be involved in the culture and history of the area. I believe that no matter how long you’ve been in Cochrane, have some extra energy, ideas and want to get involved we have a role for you

Get in touch

We have a role for you.

It’s time to renew your Membership

Membership fees for the 2019/2020 year are now due. If you would like to continue to be a member of CHAPS, please forward the payment as soon as possible. 

Dues remain $10 for an individual, $15 for a family, and $25 for a corporation.

The mailing address is:


P.O. Box 2104,
Cochrane, AB T4C 1B8

We need your help in any of the following volunteer opportunities in:

  • Research
  • Social Activities
  • Membership
  • Museum committee
  • Fundraising
  • Social Media


Museum staffing future clouded

The Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) was recently cancelled. CHAPS has used the STEP program this past summer to partially fund the salaries of 2 summer employees. (Photo of Jade Lewis and Tim Collard)

With the cancellation of the program, CHAPS is exploring other options for the funding of summer employees to maintain our summer hours of operation.

A link to the Province’s announcement follows:

Comments or suggestions? Comments are moderated so please keep the nature of comments positive.

Phase 2 Historic Signs Installed

CHAPS recently sponsored the installation of 5 more historic signs. Each sign details a bit of the history involved with the site and why it’s important to our local story.

They include the Range Grill, Murray Hardware, Camden House, Shoemaker shop, and Meat Locker plant.

Thanks to all the volunteers and contractors that helped with the construction and installation. These signs help CHAPS fulfill our mission of educating people about the history of our beautiful town.

Everyone's high school favourite, the Range Grill.
Camden House - 120 3 Ave West
Shoemaker Shop - across 119 1 Ave
Locker Plant - across from 316 1st St W
Murray Hardware - across from 118 2 Ave W

My first visit to the Museum after flood repairs.

Today was my first chance to get back into the Cochrane Historical Museum after flood damage this past spring. The exhibits on the first floor were unharmed but the archives, work area and meeting space on the lower floor were significantly damaged.

I am sure impressed. Not only have repairs been done but it looks better and more functional than before. The area is divided into an Archives, meeting space and research space that is more attractive and useful than before.

Meeting area and one research station

The chance of future flooding reaching the Museum has been eliminated by adding a berm.

Berm to reduce flooding

Gravel placed around foundations

Access to the lower floor has been improved by making changes to the original stairs.

Improved access to lower floor

Thanks to all the volunteers, donators and contractors that made this possible. The history of our beautiful town can again be displayed.

2019 President’s Message

The yearly planned activities of CHAPS was suddenly interrupted and altered during the late evening of March 23rd, 2019. The Big Hill Creek overflowed it’s banks resulting in the flooding of our Museum basement.

Thanks to members of the Cochrane Fire Department and CHAPS volunteers, many historical and cultural artifacts, books, photo albums and other objects were saved. We were very fortunate to not of lost our entire basement and contents.

This event shattered our sense of safety. Though heartbroken and devastated, CHAPS members and volunteers rallied together to repair the damages. This publicly  demonstrated how CHAPS members and volunteers are dedicated and devoted to help protect, preserve and maintain the history of Cochrane and the surrounding areas.

As a result, many individuals, non-profit organizations and local businesses made financial donations to help recoup our losses.

Remember “out of tragedy, good things happen”. Human nature cannot live without the news. Through the local news print and social media applications, information about CHAPS has spread very quickly. This raised public awareness and visibility has helped mobilize people to support our identity, goals , values and purpose.

We must keep and improve this “recognition process” moving forward in 2020. We must move ahead with vigor, passion and fixed determination to achieve our goals. We all need to keep going.

It’s important for our volunteers to know what an enormous gift you give by simply helping and caring. Thank you.
Larry Want

Opening day for Cochrane Historical Museum

Our local Museum opens for the summer with Jade Lewis returning for a third season. Jade with her family and friends have created two fabulous short videos that bring our rich history to life. Watch them here on our Youtube channel.

Timothy Collard joins Jade. In his own words

“Tim Collard holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from St. Mary’s University. He will be pursuing his Master’s in History at the University of Calgary in the fall focusing on historiography and the role of narrative in history. Tim moved to Cochrane with his family in 1984 and grew up in the community. His first job was at MacKay’s Ice Cream and he graduated from Cochrane High in 2001. For the past two years, Tim has been a regular busker at the Cochrane Farmer’s Market and can often be found around town playing guitar with his father. Tim is passionate about the stories that shape a community and he is excited for the opportunity to share some of the stories of Cochrane this summer at the Cochrane Historical Museum.’ photo of Jade and Tim

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