WEYBURN – Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty and his wife Donna toured the historic Soo Line Museum on Saturday, along with some of the guests at the High Tea held earlier at the Legacy Park School Gymnasium by Weyburn Tourism.
The event was originally planned for the museum grounds, in part to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, but also in part to showcase the Soo Line Museum’s treasure, the Charlie Wilson Silver Collection, the largest private silver collection in the world.
Weather conditions forced the High Tea event to be moved, but the vice-regal couple still wanted to see the Charlie Wilson collection, and they took the tour with Larry Heggs, executive director of Weyburn Tourism, Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan, and High Tea host, Coun. Jeff Richards.
The couple were given an overview of the collection by museum staff member Lauren McKinney and they toured the collection and then the rest of the museum.
The tour included a stop to see the eight-legged calf that Charlie Wilson had kept at the foot of his bed and which he insisted the museum put on display with the silverware collection.
A great-nephew of Wilson, John Shelly, also stopped by during the tour and shared some of the stories he knew about Wilson and the silverware collection.
It was noted that Wilson’s farmhouse was filled, floor to ceiling, with items he had collected at auctions and from sources around the world. One of the people who helped him with his collection was legendary auctioneer Herman Lackey, Shelly noted.
The testamentary document, which detailed what Wilson wanted as terms for his collection to be held and exhibited by the museum, was eight pages long and stated if the museum could not or would not agree to his terms, the collection had to be sold. and proceeds donated to Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto.
During the visit to the museum, the lieutenant-governor. Mirasty marveled at the enormity and variety of the silver collection, and often commented on how amazing the collection is.
Shelly pointed out that the duplicate silver coins from Wilson’s collection were sold at a massive two-day auction, held at the Weyburn Curling Rink.
The group were also told how the will stated that all items were to be accepted and displayed – but one difficulty that arose as part of the collection of items was a vintage Mercury car owned by Wilson. After meeting with the executors of Wilson’s estate, it was decided to sell this car, and the proceeds went towards the cost of building some of Wilson’s silver collection display cases.
The Lieutenant Governor was also struck by the museum’s collection of the former Weyburn Psychiatric Hospital, including the James Eadie mural, which was saved from destruction when the huge building was demolished , and he received a copy of a history from the psychiatric hospital. as well.