Medicine Hat Media

Art Exposure: Historic Clay District

Last week I came up with the idea to try to expose Hatters to the wide world of media by doing more than merely reporting on the current media happenings in Southeastern Alberta. So, I present to you, Art Exposure, a semimonthly post that will attempt to bring attention to local media focusing on art, and also media that has either historic significance or that we think is just really cool. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, let us know if you think this is an awesome idea, or something better left in the recesses of my brain.

Tour at The Medalta from

Tour at The Medalta from

To kick things off I wanted to bring a focus to a part of Medicine Hat’s history that I think is under appreciated: the Historic Clay District. Once home to one of the most important clay factories in Canada, this 150 acre area is now home to a museum aimed at informing Hatters of their industrial heritage. Medalta Potteries, Hycroft China, National Porcelain and Alberta Clay Products were once responsible for producing 75% of Canada’s clay products and now aim to educate visitors through interactive tours displaying the main implements used to create clay products.

The success of the Clay District is due in part to the easy access to both natural gas to fuel the kilns, and the clay, which was taken from the hills directly behind the factory. The expansive railway lines that have connected the Gas City to the rest of Canada since the late 1800’s also triggered the success of Medicine Hat’s industry. This “perfect storm” of resources allowed for a booming and prosperous industry to take hold. Rudyard Kipling even said Medicine Hat had “all Hell for a basement” when he witnessed the city’s immense success and the industrious people that made it happen.

Throughout the months of September to May the museum is open from 10:00 to 4:00 from Tuesday through Saturday. However, they will be closed for the holidays from December 18 to January 4. Admission fees can be found on the website listed below, as well as information regarding booking guided tours. Although it has been years since I have been on a museum tour, I remember enjoying my visits as a kid. I highly recommend supporting this fascinating historic site and learning about the city we call home.

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