Prairie Post (East Edition)
Swift Current Museum exhibition features Canadian experience in Belgium during First World War
The poppy is an important symbol of Remembrance Day and closely connected with the well-known poem In Flanders Field written by Canadian physician Lt.Col. John McCrae during the First World War.
A new exhibition at the Swift Current Museum highlights the challenges faced by Canadian soldiers while serving on the battlefield in Belgium during the First World War.
The travelling exhibition, titled Fighting in Flanders – Gas. Mud. Memory, was created by the Canadian War Museum in partnership with the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, Belgium.
“Each year we are trying to find exhibits that are relevant to things that are happening,” Swift Current Museum Director Melissa Shaw said. “This one ties specifically to Remembrance Day, which is why we bought it in at this time of year. We’re extremely fortunate.”
The information is presented in a series of four panels through photographs, personal testimonials, and reproductions of art. It provides context for Canada’s entry into the war and there are details about the brutality of the war experienced by soldiers, who had to deal with mud on the battlefield and chlorine gas attacks.
It includes information about the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, the first major battle fought by Canadian troops in the war. German forces released 160 tonnes of chlorine gas from 5,730 cylinders during this battle, which was the first large-scale poison gas attack in modern warfare.
Another section of the exhibition features the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, which resulted in the death of over 4,000 Canadian soldiers and close to 12,000 wounded.
The final section of the exhibition refers to the efforts of Canadians and Belgians to keep the memory of the First World War battles in Flanders alive. More than 10,000 Canadians died in Belgium during the war, and Lt.-Col. John McCrae began to write his famous poem after the death of a soldier killed at Ypres in May 1915.
The Swift Current Museum provided additional in
during the First World War.
“It gives a little bit of a depiction of what the trenches would have looked like in World War One,” she said.
The museum also added an interactive component to the exhibition. There is a treasure box that visitors can unlock by using morse code to decipher several questions. There are two computer station with additional details related to the First World War. Visitors can explore popular patriotic songs in Canada during the war on the one computer. There is an interactive computer adventure on the other work station that allows users to experience life in the trenches during the First World War.
This exhibition will be on display at the Swift Current Museum until Dec. 31. Admission to the museum is free. The museum is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information about activities at the museum, call 306-778-2775 or watch for updates on their Facebook page (@SwiftCurrentMuseum).