In 1988, the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA) developed the idea of a museum as a way for the profession to honor its fallen officers.
As the public and media became increasingly interested in the work we do, it occurred to us that we had not one, but two missions: not only to honor the profession's heroes, but to educate the public about them.
The museum building and programs are being created with those two primary goals in mind.
“We believe that by educating the public about natural resource protection, we can help create better conservationists across this continent.”
“By introducing the heroes of our profession, especially those who have given their lives in the line of duty, we can make the matter of natural resource protection real, immediate and personal to our visiting public.” --North American Game Warden Museum Board of Directors.
The Museum represents these two founding mission statements that serve as the fundamental principles of the North American Game Warden Museum.
In the 1990s, initial response to the Museum project and early fundraising efforts were successful, so as the new millennium approached, we forged ahead. A temporary museum facility was constructed and positioned at a beautiful spot in the heart of the North American continent at the International Peace Garden. Our dream was becoming a reality.
Initially, our Game Warden Museum site included a small temporary exhibit building and a "discovery trail" that wound through an aspen forest, past wildflower beds and a waterfall and around Lake Udahl. Officers who had fallen in the line of duty were honored along the walk. With the help of our partners we also installed our first major indoor exhibit and a learning platform was constructed on the lake.
Within the first few years of the effort and with just a small temporary facility, we attracted visitors from around the world, hosted guest speakers and wildlife professionals and completed five seasons of summer conservation programs.
With the success and growth we experienced, the museum quickly outgrew its temporary facility.
After 14 years of planning and fundraising, we began work on the final points of the permanent Museum's Phase I construction plan. By mid-2004, we had raised 70% of the $500,000 Phase I fundraising goal. Construction on the permanent site commenced in the summer of 2004.
steady progress, even through a series of weather delays, Phase I
of the Game Warden Museum permanent building started taking shape.
The Game Warden Museum Celebration Day, hosted July 21, 2004 at the International Peace Garden, was a benchmark in the profession's and museum's history. More than 400 conservation officers, their families and other honored guests gathered near the museum construction site to celebrate and dedicate the project.
Construction of Phase 1 was completed and the North American Game Warden Museum opened to the public in May 2005. Next to the museum a Memorial Garden was constructed to commemorate the profession's fallen heroes. Officer monuments (cairns) were created to represent each jurisdiction in the US and Canada.
The Game Warden Museum has become the centralized collection point for significant items from the profession. We presently have and are continuing to collect vintage uniform, decoys, badges, patches and crests, and a range of tools used in Wildlife enforcement as display items. The museum also collects both historic and contemporary books, publications and photos. The museum houses these items for the profession and uses then in exhibits to educate the public.
A collection of confiscated animals, skins and illegal items are displayed with their history. It is the museum's goal to educate the public on the law enforcement aspects of the game warden profession and their importance to the earth's conservation thru these exhibits.
During July and August we offer summer programming with our visiting officer program and experts in professions relating to naturalreresource conservation and environment.
Champions of our profession such as officers of the year, life-saving heroes, rescue award recipients and others are celebrated for their achievements throughout the facility and in our programming.
Individual efforts and remembrances may also be recognized through the sponsorship of engraved paving stones.
Our long term visio includes increasing the value of the Game Warden Museum Endowment Fund at the Winnipeg Foundation. The fund will ensure:
The Museum Board of Directors are working to secure funding for Phase II. Phase II is an expansion of the building that will feature a professional and creatively designed exhibition area of the history and importance of natural resource protection.
With the help of Conservation Officers across North America and our dedicated public and corporate supporters, the Game Warden Museum's range of programs, exhibits and other resources will be continually expanded with the goal of CELEBRATING NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION thru EDUCATION and HONORING OUR PROFESSIONS HEROES!
TO MAKE A DONATION TO THE MUSEUM
To make donation to the Museum's Endowment Fund please go to our home page and click on the link for the Winnipeg Foundation. To make a donation outside of our Endowment Fund, please send check payable to North American Gae Warden Museum.
In Canada send to: P.O. Box 1239 Boissevain, MB R0K 0E0
In US send to: 10939 Peace Garden Road, Dunseith, ND 58329