Medalta in the Historic Clay District

Art & Culture

Hard-working hands, eager minds, and persistent community members were instrumental in transforming Medalta in the Historic Clay District into the National Historic Site it is today. Originally established as a bustling factory, Medalta's journey has been marked by resilience and community spirit, particularly since its revitalization as a non-profit organization. 

Medalta withstood many misfortunes during its rebirth, including two fires and a flood, but there was always a group of passionate people there to pick up and rebuild the broken pieces. In the early 1900s, Medicine Hat’s Historic Clay District distributed one-third of all clay in Canada. Medalta is a prominent part of the city's culture, creativity, and economy, with human stories hidden in every brick, piece of machinery, and Medicine Hat-made pottery found today. The century-old factory is now home to an industrial museum, contemporary ceramic arts facility, art gallery, and community hub.

Throughout its history, Medalta has transitioned from a thriving ceramics factory to a symbol of resilience and heritage, thanks to the efforts of The Friends of Medalta Society that breathed new life into its historic walls. Today, Medalta stands not only as a testament to the cities industrial past but also as a center for creative expression and community engagement.

Beehive Kilns

The iconic beehive kilns were used to fire pottery in the 1900s and were built using medieval designs. Over 14,000 bricks create this iconic structure, relying completely on gravity to keep the overhead domes together. Pottery was fired day and night for seven to eight days, and then cooled for one to two days. There was so much heat produced, it could make a penny evaporate. The Kilns can now be toured and host events like, Dinner in the Kiln, Whiskey Tastings in the Kiln, Tongue on the Post, and Medalta’s Heritage Christmas Market.

Collectors' Gallery ft. Tony Schlachter Collection

Late Tony Schlachter donated his incredible collection of over 2,500 pieces to Medalta in 2008. The collection represents nearly every factory that has ever operated in Medicine Hat. It all began with a nondescript chicken waterer that Tony found on his farm in 1954. The collection is located in a hallway where you can also access the Beehive Kilns.

Museum Tours

The museum can be toured leisurely or guided. Strolling the National Historic Site with a tour guide, you’ll hear true stories about real people who worked day in and day out to produce pottery being distributed nation-wide. There are stories to tell, to be heard, and to remember in a place that played a prominent role, and continues to shape Medicine Hat’s culture. Feel the history of everything encompassed in the building, during a guided or self-guided tour.

Crockstock Festival, We Built This City on Crocks and Bowls 

Medalta hosted a free, 12-hour festival in September 2022 that featured Canadian performers, Bif Naked and TOQUE, local artists, an Indigenous dance group, and a salsa band. All the food trucks in Medicine Hat fed the community, and there was a market with over 20 local creators and artists. Medalta has a venue room that can be used to host corporate events, fundraisers, Christmas parties, and other special events.

| Their entire campus is the result of a dedicated restoration effort supported by the local community and all three levels of government. The result is a stunning context for dynamic experiences inside a National Historic Site.