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Alberta government to cut contract jobs, reduce hours for 14 heritage sites and museums

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alta.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alta. Facebook/Government of Alberta

The Alberta government has released a list of 14 museums and heritage sites that will see operating hours change as a way to cut costs following the Feb. 27 provincial budget.

It includes several of Alberta’s biggest attractions: Drumheller’s Royal Tyrrell Museum, Edmonton’s Royal Alberta Museum, and World Heritage Site Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

Other sites affected include the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre west of Lethbridge, the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardson, among others (full list with hour changes below).

READ MORE: Royal Alberta Museum to reduce hours, find efficiencies following provincial budget

“Slightly reducing operating hours during underused times is a strategic move to maintain the fiscal health of our province’s museums,” Danielle Murray, press secretary for the minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women said in a statement.

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“No full-time Government of Alberta staff positions have been reduced at these facilities, however, 17 contract temporary part-time positions will not be renewed.”

Alberta Budget 2020 will see the budget for the ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women drop from $218 million this fiscal year (2019-20) to $185 million in 2020-21.

The full list of operational changes is below:

Royal Tyrell Museum
Drumheller 

Will be open seven days a week during high season (May 15 to Aug. 31), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. During the low season (Sept. 1 to May 14), it will be closed Mondays and open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum will still be open on holiday Mondays.

Previously, the museum was open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week during the high season, then 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week in the month of September. From Oct. 1 to May 14, it was closed Mondays and and open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

READ MORE: First new Canadian tyrannosaur species in 50 years identified by Alberta researchers

Royal Alberta Museum
Edmonton

Will be closed all Mondays year-round except holidays. Regular hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

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The museum was previously open during its high season (May 15 to Labour Day) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and was closed the last Monday of each month. In the low season (Labour Day to May 14), the museum was closed Mondays and open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Northwest of Fort McLeod

Will be open seven days a week during high season (May 15 to Oct. 15) from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. During low season, Oct. 16 to May 14, the site will be closed on Mondays (except holidays).

Previously, the site was open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week year round.

Reynolds-Alberta Museum
Wetaskiwin

Will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all week through its high season (last Saturday in June until Labour Day) and closed Mondays (except holidays) during the low season.

Before the change, the museum had similar hours: open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Victoria Day and Thanksgiving Monday, and closed Mondays through the low season.

Remington Carriage Museum
Cardston

Will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week during peak season (last Saturday of June to Labour Day). After Labour Day weekend, the museum will be closed Mondays (except holidays) and open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

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Previously the museum was open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week year-round.

Oil Sands Discovery Centre 
Fort McMurray 

The centre will now be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week during its peak season (last Saturday of June to Labour Day). After Labour Day weekend, the museum will be closed Mondays (except holidays) and open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday.

Previously, the centre had similar hours: from Victoria Day weekend until Thanksgiving Monday, it was open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then kept the same hours but closed on Mondays during offseason.

Rutherford House 
Edmonton

Rutherford House will now be closed Mondays year-round. It will be open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. during peak season (Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day) and reduced from noon to 5 p.m. during offseason.

Rutherford House was previously open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m seven days a week through peak season, and closed Mondays with noon to 5 p.m. hours the rest of the week during offseason.

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village 
Lamont County

The village will now be closed Mondays. It will be open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Victoria Day Weekend to Labour Day. School tours will still be held Mondays in May and June. During offseason, it will be closed to the public and only available for private bookings.

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Previously, the village operated seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during high season and was closed through offseason.

Stephansson House (Spruce View), Victoria Settlement (near Smoky Lake), Historic Dunvegan (Fairview), Fort George & Buckingham House (Elk Point), and Father Lacombe Chapel (St. Albert) 

The above sites will now be closed Monday and Tuesday and open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday during open season from May 15 to Labour Day. They will all be closed during offseason.

Previously, the sites were all open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week between Victoria Day weekend and Labour Day and closed for the rest of the year.

–With files from Global News’ Emily Mertz