Reynolds-Alberta Museum – Wetaskiwin, Alberta - Atlas Obscura
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Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Reynolds-Alberta Museum

An automotive, farming machinery, and aviation museum located in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada. 

The Reynolds-Alberta museum has one of the world’s best historical collections of transportation and industrial machinery.

Charmingly, the collection was started by Stan Reynolds a local car salesman, and collector, who stressed in his advertisements that he would take ANY kind of trade in. Naturally he ended up with an odd assortment of vehicles and machinery. This didn’t bother him much as he was also a collector of usual machinery. ONe story goes that while serving in London during WWII, he collected bits of shrapnel, and brought them home for his collection. A pilot, Stan was known to cruise the area farmlands looking down in search of interesting machinery he would try and buy from the farmer.Stan donated his collection in the mid 1980s and the museum opened in full in 1992.

The museum is not just of interest to machine and vehicle buffs. The collection of transportation, aviation, agricultural, and industrial machinery ranges from the 1890s to the 1970s, and traces the history of Alberta, giving a view into a changing Canadian landscape. From horse-drawn buggies to cars and wagons, the local blacksmith turned to huge factory, from horses to tractors, the museum traces the industrialization and mechanization of Canada’s Alberta region.

The museum contains over 400 vehicles, 95 aircraft, thousands of pieces of farm equipment, a library of farm and vehicle publications, a 1920s grain elevator, a 1930s service station, and a 1950s drive-in. Among the other prized items in the museum are a one-of-a-kind 1929 Duesenberg Phaeton Royale Model J, a Bucyrus Class-24 dragline(built in 1917 and the world’s oldest dragline) and a 1928 American Eagle biplane - the only surviving Canadian example.

However, perhaps the most interesting items in the museum are not the rarest, but the homemade and heartily used such as “a home built wire weeder, one farmer’s answer to the soil erosion that daily ravaged his family’s farm, and future” and “a tractor with a wash basin hammered into a wheel to repair it.” These were said to be Stan Reynolds favorites as well, machines which showed how they were used through the daily wear and tear on their parts.

Reynolds passed away in early 2012 but left behind a lifetimes worth of passionate collecting.

Know Before You Go

The Reynolds-Alberta Museum is located between Edmonton and Red Deer, 65 kilometers (40 mi) south of Edmonton. It is located off Highway 2 or 2A, 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) west of the city of Wetaskiwin on Highway 13, or east from Highway 2, near the Wetaskiwin airport. Quite frankly, you can't miss it.