CFB SHILO — The Royal Canadian Artillery Museum will open its newest exhibit on the First World War 100 years, almost exactly to the second, after Great Britain declared war on Germany.
As a British dominion, the declaration brought Canada into the war.
"This exhibit is about gunners not guns, and it’s about the soldiers as people, not soldiers as icons," RCA Museum director Marc George said. "I really hope that people, through this exhibit, can make a personal connection with what it was like to be a person in 1914."
While Canadians didn’t fight in the Great War until the spring of 1915, George said the exhibit, which is entirely comprised of in-house artifacts, will feature the role Canadians played in those early days.
"It explains how the world ended up in this great apocalypse and how it affected Canada," George said. "This is focused on Manitoba’s war effort and people will be able to see some of the artifacts we unearthed last summer at Camp Hughes."
Film director, producer and writer Paul Almond will officially cut the ribbon for the exhibit "The Great War 1914-1915," at 5 p.m. on Monday.
While there are no living soldiers from the war, Almond’s father served in the artillery and was wounded six times in battle.
Everyone in attendance at the opening will receive a copy of Almond’s book "The Gunner," which is set against the backdrop of the war and draws off some of his father’s experiences.
On Tuesday at 7 p.m., the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba will host a reading by Almond.
As the world marks First World War events, the RCA Museum will change the exhibit to highlight the events that were taking place 100 years ago.
Sections on the battles of the Somme, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, where thousands of Canadian soldiers lost their lives, are some of the attractions.
"It’s only if we remember the gruesome toll that wars like this take on people that we will be reluctant to keep doing it," George said.
"That’s the ultimate goal: Make people not want to go to war."
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