The Deep South Pioneer Museum, established in 1977, is a symbol of the prairie spirit of community and respect for the past. 

“As the heritage of our community seemed to be slipping away, certain persons stepped forward to try to preserve for future generations our memoirs in wood and steel.” 

Andy Myren, From Grass to Golden Grain: RM 70 Ogema & Surrounding Areas local history book. 

In the earliest years of the museum’s existence, members were drawn from Ogema, Pangman, Bengough, and Avonlea. Five acres of land was purchased just north of Ogema. This very quickly was deemed too small and a further five acres were added to the museum site in 1980. 

Donations to the museum were slow at first, but soon enough the collection began to rapidly expand, for, as Andy Myren wrote, “Once people realized this was a south country effort and their loans and donations would be here forever with their names and a bit of history concerning each piece attached, they were very anxious to help.” Relics from the pioneer past began to flood into the museum from all across the Deep South region of Saskatchewan, and from further afield in the province. Museum board members also hunted down old farm equipment. 

These items were not just hauled to Ogema to sit in their current state for perpetuity. Talented members of the museum board went to work cleaning, repairing and restoring antique machinery and furniture. Some parts were custom built for vintage equipment, since they could not be purchased anymore. 

As the museum collection expanded, space to store and display it all became a pressing issue. In 1979 a brand new building was erected on the museum grounds to house the thousands of artifacts that the museum now owned.

This large steel building (48 X 120 feet) was built entirely by volunteers.
However, it still was not large enough, and so the board decided to create a pioneer village with historic buildings from Ogema and district. 

This decision proved an important one, for not only did it provide storage and display space for the museum, it also saved several buildings from certain decay or demolition. Over the years, as the collection of buildings grew, the museum became a complex. New buildings were built to house objects. Now, with hundreds of thousands of artifacts and 31 buildings, the Deep South Pioneer Museum is one of the largest community owned museums in western Canada. 

In July 1980, to coincide with Saskatchewan’s 75th anniversary, the DSPM was officially opened. That year a “threshermen’s day” was held to commemorate the grand opening. This has since become the annual Museum Day, held the same weekend as Ogema’s century-old Agricultural Fair. The DSPM Museum Day is one of the largest annual heritage celebrations in southern Saskatchewan. 

As a community museum, the DSPM is run by a board of volunteers. It is through the generosity of these community members that the museum’s collection and grounds are maintained. Thus it is truly a museum built on community. The DSPM, as a non-profit, volunteer-run organization, depends on the support of occasional grants, museum admissions and donations to secure its operation. 

“The museum came about as the realization of a dream by many residents to have a safe, permanent place to store and share their antiques and mementos of their forefathers.”

Andy Myren.