Special Constables exhibit wins national museum award

The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre has won a national award for its exhibit, We Took Care of Them: Special Constables in the NWT.

The Canadian Museums Association presented the Yellowknife-based museum with an award for outstanding achievement, praising its work as “nationally significant.”

The Special Constables exhibit, which honours Indigenous northerners who were special constables with the RCMP, opened in August 2017.


The exhibit also features Indigenous seamstresses, guides, and interpreters who supported police in the NWT.

“By sharing the skills needed to live and work in the north, local people often made the difference between life and death to the RCMP,” said the territorial government in a news release.

The exhibit was chosen for the award, the territory said, because it went above and beyond in its connection to communities and in sharing lesser-known parts of the NWT’s history.

Researchers who worked on the project spent time with the families of the special constables to put the exhibit together. 

“The collaboration between the people of the NWT, RCMP, and Government of the Northwest Territories in bringing the history and importance that Indigenous people contributed in relation to policing in the North, honours the important roles Special Constables and their families played,” said NWT RCMP chief superintendent Jamie Zettler in prepared remarks.


“Receiving the award of outstanding achievement formally acknowledges this important work.”

The exhibit remains open at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife.

People outside the city can view it through six interactive travelling exhibits or online, where it is available in all of the territory’s official languages.