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Chester Mjolsness and his wife Martha in front of a taxidermied bear that he donated.
Sundre & District Museum | Cochrane Today

Sundre’s Taxidermy Exhibit Will Have You Crawling In Your Skin 

150 animals in Sundre’s taxidermy exhibit were donated by one man

Whether you are from Alberta or not, you have likely heard of Sundre. To be a bit more specific, you have probably heard of the town’s District Museum.

Sundre’s museum has attracted attention from around the world. It offers three different museum exhibits: Pioneer Village, World of Wildlife, and the Reception Centre Gallery. 

The Reception Centre Gallery was built in 2011 and is open to the public all year round. 

This exhibit features a changing display of objects representing life as a pioneer in the early 1940s.

If you would like to spice up your historic visit, the Sundre Museum offers scavenger hunts for visitors to enjoy. 

The Sundre Museum also recently added the ‘Mannequins Alive’ tour. By booking in advance, visitors can book a guided tour with a living mannequin.

On this tour, visitors will learn about what it was like to live as a pioneer during Sundre’s earliest days. Tour themes and mannequin characters are constantly changing, too.

The Pioneer Exhibit was actually the original Sundre Museum before it expanded. Here, visitors can take a stroll through the village’s many spaces.

The exhibit also features eight historic buildings, a working windmill, an area dedicated to farm machinery, as well as a tractor and wagon display!

But what really put Sundre’s District Museum on the map is its Taxidermy Exhibit, better known as the World of Wildlife Exhibit. 

The World of Wildlife Exhibit is what’s called a closed, permanent taxidermy exhibit. In other words, the museum has no plans to add to the collection or expand it in any way.

Considering the exhibit practically features the entire animal kingdom, this isn’t too surprising. 

From elephants to polar bears, the World of Wildlife Exhibit showcases over 170 taxidermied animals.

That’s not even the wildest part, no pun intended. About 150 of these animals were donated by one man, Chester Mjolsness. 

Chester lived a long 101 years of life before he passed away on March 5, 2021.

He was an avid hunter who travelled across the world to score some exotic trophies. 

The countries he hunted in were Australia, New Zealand, China, Mongolia, Russia, Iran, Spain, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Cameroon.

This means Chester hunted on every continent except South America and Antarctica. Sadly that means there are no taxidermied Emperor Penguins.

With the hopes of sharing his experiences of travelling around the world, Chester donated his collection of trophies to the Sundre District Museum in 2007. 

The World of Wildlife Exhibit now serves as an incredible reminder of Chester’s larger-than-life contribution to the Sundre District Museum. 

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