The Tony Schlachter Collection contains over 2,500 pieces of Medicine Hat pottery.
Collections & Research
The Friends of Medalta Society has been accepting donations to our Permanent and Study collections since 1992.
Donations & Inquiries
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about your antique ceramics produced in South Eastern Alberta.
Collections and Research
Please note that due to our Collection Manager position being filled later in the year, answers to antique object information inquiries will be delayed until 2022.
The Friends of Medalta Society has been accepting donations to our Permanent and Study collections since 1992. Thanks to the generosity of donors from across Canada, our collection has grown to over 38,000 objects. The primary focus of our collection is artefacts related to the factories located in the Historic Clay District with a minor focus on the other Potteries that operated in Southeastern Alberta.
Additionally, we have a collection of historic plaster moulds that were used at the Hycroft China site between 1938-1989, as well as collections of silkscreens, rubber stamps, stencils, tools and other artefacts found on site. We are also interested in product catalogues and advertisements from the Potteries in South Eastern Alberta. Additionally, we also collect stories of life working in the factories, more formally called Oral Histories.
We have placed a moratorium on acquisitions until January, 2023
Following the 2013 flood, we devoted 5 years to the safe housing and conservation of our collection. In this massive undertaking, there were various time consuming projects such as large-scale documentation concerning the historic plaster moulds at Hycroft China; industrial machinery and tools throughout their 7 acres of roofed buildings; and the product design drawings and illustrations from Medicine Hat Potteries and Hycroft China. Medalta is proud of the conservation efforts taken on by their Collections Staff in these years.
Each piece accepted into our collection must then be appraised, labeled, documented, photographed, stored safely, and uploaded to a database. The major flood projects resulted in a growing backlog of unprocessed donations which is becoming increasingly problematic.
As a result, the museum has placed a moratorium of 5 years on new additions to the collection, meaning we will no longer be accepting new acquisition inquiries beyond the specific donations that we have already committed to accepting in 2019. We now have to regretfully refuse artefact donations and are steering such offers to other museums that are considered appropriate for the items being offered. This time will allow us to reconsider our collection development plan, deaccession items which are currently over-represented in order to free up space for new acquisitions, and to complete processing of current artefacts. This will also allow Collections staff more time to digitize the collection, so that it may be shared and accessed by the public.
Our entire staff would like to thank you for your patience during this time.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about your antique ceramics produced in South Eastern Alberta. In addition to your question, please send us a few photos of the object, from multiple views including any factory stamps or markings on the object. These photos help us to narrow down the date range of when your object was produced.
We are currently in the process of developing our online collection database for your self-serve research needs. We also have books for sale in our museum gift shop that offer a wealth of information about the potteries of South Eastern Alberta, the products and markings of Medalta Potteries Ltd, and Altaglass. If you are interested in purchasing a book, please give us a call and we can let you know more about prices and shipping.
In accordance with the International Council of Museums Code of Ethics, we are unable to provide appraisal services to the public. Estimates of value are performed by an appraiser. You can find an appraiser in the yellow pages of the phone book or through a member of the Canadian Antique Dealers Association.
History of the Tony Schlachter Collection
Anthony (Tony) Timothy Schlachter arrived to the world in the middle of the 1930’s depression. He was the second of eight children born to Joseph and Catherine Schlachter who had a farm on the Etzikom Road, between Seven Persons and Bow Island, Alberta.
After managing a grain elevator in Hussar, Alberta for a couple of years, Tony also went into farming, growing wheat and raising cattle, on the land known locally as “the Flamme Farm”. It had belonged to August Flamme, an MLA for the Cypress area in the late thirties.
It was on this farm that Tony discovered the very first piece of his collection – a stoneware chicken waterer.
In the intervening 50 years, he has amassed an exemplary collection of South Eastern Alberta pottery which he generously donated to The Friends of Medalta Society in the Spring of 2008.
Upon donating, Tony asked that it be shown as a single collection, which we were happy to do. His collection officially opened in Medalta’s former Kiln Room in May 2008 and was housed there until October 2010. Its permanent home is now in a secure section of our Reception Gallery and is open for viewing during our regular museum hours. Some of the artefacts are one-of-a-kind – including a vase made for the Veiner family and a half a chamber pot (custom-made by a former Medalta Manager for his “half-assed” friends).
Other generous donors of items produced in the Historic Clay District and surrounding area: the late George Bruinsma and Wayne and Gina Battle, David and Nora Manz, Bruce Douglas whose collection focused on Medalta’s Lamps. The late Peter Kenny who collected items made by Medicine Hat Potteries Ltd. Cam McLean who collected objects made by Sunburst Ceramics Ltd.