On Display: Stanton Friedman is Out of This World

Category: community 94

The Fredericton Region Museum celebrates the life and work of internationally renowned ufologist Stanton Friedman with new exhibition.

Paul Steeves
Friedman in his office. One of several photos included in the exhibition now on display at the Fredericton Region Museum.

I’ve always considered the Fredericton Region Museum to be a bit of an anomaly. When compared to the museums in other capital cities, some may consider ours to be pretty campy. But what it lacks in infrastructure and obviously in funding, it makes up for in heart and pure go-get-em spirit. It’s like The Little Museum That Could, chugging along on a seasonal schedule most likely dictated by budget restraints and the poor insulation within the walls of its 170+ year old home where a mix of static and rotating exhibitions exploring the various inhabitants of the region from the earliest Indigenous populations to French and British colonizers leading up to the present day can be found.

One of the museum’s most popular and truly timeless exhibitions focuses on the Coleman Frog, a whisky drinking, baked bean eating 7.3 pound amphibian said to have inhabited a nearby lake before a freak “dynamite accident” brought an untimely end to its life. Legend has it, after being blown to bits by fisherman trying to improve on the old hook and line method, the body was sent to a taxidermist in Maine to be forever preserved, the results of which have been on display at the museum for as long as I can remember. A mass of folklore has been built around the Coleman Frog. It’s a story that has become legendary on a level akin to Paul Bunyon and his faithful companion Babe the Blue Ox. Too outlandish to take seriously (or is it?), but fun to imagine. 

The museum’s most recent exhibit, Stanton Friedman Is Out Of This World, focusing on the life and times of the world renowned UFO expert who called Fredericton home for nearly forty years, is a perfect extension of all that we’ve come to expect from this beloved local institution. Alien statues and cleverly improvised exhibit displays, not to mention the topic at hand, shape this entertaining exhibit and perfectly ties together so much of what makes this museum a local treasure.  

Friedman’s research into the existence of extraterrestrial life is legendary. From his early work which helped introduce details of the famous Roswell incident into popular culture, to his countless interviews with eyewitnesses and his genuine curiosity of the unknown, Friedman didn’t just want to believe, he did believe. And it was his passion that helped others come forward to share their own experiences.

The exhibit occupies two rooms at the Fredericton Region Museum. Upon entering the space, visitors step inside a replica spacecraft packed with memorabilia, research documents and enough little green men to balance the expectations of skeptics and believers alike. There are reproductions of handwritten letters Friedman received telling stories of local encounters and others from around the world alongside a wide mix of collected artifacts from Friedman’s home office. 

The exhibit was originally planned to open last summer but was delayed because of the pandemic. Now on display through until 2022, this unique window into the life and work of Mr. Friedman is not to be missed. Definitely worth the $6 entry fee, Stanton Friedman Is Out Of This World is both a testament to an expert researcher who dedicated his life to his passion, and what can be accomplished when a dedicated group of volunteers commit to celebrating one of our city’s most colourful characters. Like the museum itself, this exhibit truly is out of this world. 

For hours of operation, please visit www.frederictonregionmuseum.com

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