Medalta in the Historic Clay District is over 100 years old and was instrumental in building Medicine Hat’s economy in the early 1900s, through clay production and distribution. It still stands as an industrial heritage museum with original framework and working areas. Along with the museum and gallery, cultural events often take place inside the National Historic Site year-round. The organization has offered the artist in residence program since 1998, where artists from around the world are invited to find inspiration through the authentic historic space and grow their craft in pottery.
The iconic beehive kilns were used to fire pottery in the 1900s and were built using medieval designs. The bricks rely on gravity to keep the overhead domes together — there is no mortar holding these structures together. The little arches around the base of the kilns was where the fire entered the kilns through long gas pipes. There was so much heat produced, it could make a penny evaporate. People can now tour inside the empty kilns, and experience them as music,
dance, and art gallery venues during certain times of the year.
Pottery Collection (Schlachter Gallery)
Tony Schalchter is a prolific collector of Medicine Hat pottery, with his incredible collection of over 2,500 pieces. He donated these pieces in 2008. They represent nearly every factory that ever operated in Medicine Hat. It all began with a nondescript chicken waterer that Tony found on his farm in 1954. These pieces can be spotted in the gallery.
The museums can be toured leisurely or guided. Join a guided tour at Medalta, and learn about the prominent faces in the industry, how many fires tried to burn Medalta Potteries down, how the kilns worked, and how a single electric engine ran through each of the rooms, connecting every machine.
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.