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Marlena Wyman: Illuminating the Diary of Alda Dale Randall

For 28 years, Marlena Wyman worked at the Provincial Archives of Alberta (PAA) as the Audiovisual Archivist. In 2010, she decided to take on an exciting new adventure by leaving the PAA and further pursuing her passion for art and history. More than five years later, Marlena’s journey has come full circle as she prepares to unveil her new art exhibit, Illuminating the Diary of Alda Dale Randall at the PAA on Feb.10.

Marlena’s exhibit showcases her creative vision that was inspired by the 1920 diary of Alberta homesteader Alda Dale Randall. Written almost 100 years ago, Randall’s diary is a remarkably detailed account of one year (1920) on the family’s homestead near High Prairie, Alberta. Randall’s descriptions of day to day life are revealing of the physical challenges and of the rawness of emotions that balanced precariously between hope and despair.

In her former work as an archivist, Marlena found that one of the significant gaps in archival collections is that of women’s stories. In particular, the voice of early prairie women is largely excluded from mainstream history.

As an artist, and a third generational prairie woman, Marlena honours these women’s considerable contributions, advocating for their rightful place in history, and encouraging women to deposit their own and their foremothers’ records in archives.