Our Collections

Our Permanent Collection is based on the extensive and varied collection of Mr. Sam Waller. Containing over 70,000 items, the collection includes natural history specimens, human history artifacts, books and library materials, photographs and negatives, fine art pieces and the archives of the Town of The Pas. While our founder collected from the four corners of the world, the Museum now limits new accessions to those items that are pertinent to the history of the community and region. Many items from the collection can be viewed in our exhibits.

Our small Education Collection has been developed with duplicates of items in the permanent collection, in addition to items specifically donated for this collection. These items are used in our educational programming for youth and school groups. A work in progress, we are always looking to expand this collection with interesting items that can be used to tell the stories of our past. Please contact the Museum staff for more details.

From the Vault - featured items from our collection

Poison Dart

Poison Dart

Our featured object is a poison dart. It was brought back from South America in the 1950s and given to Sam Waller. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word toxic comes from several sources including “Late Latin toxicus, from Latin toxicum poison, from Greek toxikon arrow poison, from… toxikos of a bow, from toxon bow, arrow”. Poisoned arrows or darts have been used by people all over the world, including ancient Romans, Scythians, Indians and the Chinese. Various Indigenous tribes have used poisonous darts. One frog is commonly known as the Poison Dart Frog because it is used by Indigenous tribes in South America to poison their blow darts. Our poison dart may easily have been blown out of a blowgun. The poisoned dart has a string made up of vegetable fibres on the end.

Poisoned arrows, similar to poisoned darts, have been used for thousands of years and appear in myths and stories. For example, after Heracles shot a hydra, a mythical snake-like create, he dipped his arrows into the hydra’s poisonous blood, thus creating his own poisoned arrows. Later in life, he shoots a centaur with a poisoned arrow as the centaur is trying to attack Heracles’ wife, Deianira. The dying centaur, seeking revenge for his imminent death, gives Deianira his blood stained coat and tells her if she ever has a rival for Heracles’ affection, she should give Heracles the coat. Years later, Deianira, fearing she has a rival for Heracles’ affections, sends a servant to bring Heracles the dead centaur’s coat. Deianira is thus tricked into killing her husband, as the poisoned blood on the coat burns Heracles to death.

Added: November, 2017

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