27 December 2015 : Awesome Sunday – Peace
This Awesome Sunday focused on the hope for a peaceful New Year. Visitors to the Canadian War Museum were invited to join a drum circle led by a local percussionist; to create a one-word resolution for the New Year; and, to help make 1,000 origami paper cranes to celebrate this peace theme.
Once again, the Friends were front and centre in sponsoring and participating in this popular Sunday themed event.
15 December : Volunteer Christmas Lunch
On 15 December, the Museum Corporation hosted its annual Christmas luncheon to honour its volunteer cadre at both the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum. Over a hundred volunteers from the two institutions attended this year’s event that was held in the LeBreton Gallery of the War Museum.
Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Corporation kicked things off by welcoming all in attendance, including Stephen Quick, the recently appointed Director General of the Canadian War Museum. He paid tribute to Jim Whitham for standing in so admirably as interim Director General.
He then thanked the volunteers in attendance for their enormous contribution to the two Museums, noting the many hours put in by volunteers and a number of the major projects that would not have been possible without their input. A quick look at the audience, noting the numbers in attendance and the varied experiences, loudly bore out Mr O’Neill’s remarks.
Before closing, Mr O’Neill sadly listed a number of volunteers that had passed away during the past year.
29 November 2015 - Awesome Knitting
In its continuing series of Awesome Sundays, visitors to the Canadian War Museum were invited to celebrate the work of the many volunteers who made the world a warmer place through knitting. A “yarn-bombing” art project in the lobby turned a humble First World War wagon into a colourful work of art. Visitors learned about the women who knitted for soldiers during wartime, and were encouraged to try their own hands at making woolly wonders.
The visitors watched in amazement as textile artist, Amanda Schwabe, as she installed a custom-knit sweater on a horsequin (horse mannequin).
This, and other hands-on activities, was part of the CWM’s yarn-themed art installation inspired by the special exhibition World War Women.
In addition to sponsoring this event, a number of volunteers from the FCWM played an active role in making this a fun learning experience.
15 November 2015 : Jake’s Gift
On 15 November several Friends, including members from two Corporate Friends, Canadian Legion Branches 314 (Manotick) and Branch 480 (Westboro), attended a performance of “Jake’s Gift” at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa.
Jake’s Gift is a one-person, one-act, one-hour story of a WWII veteran who reluctantly returns to Normandy for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Here he meets Isabelle, a precocious 10-year old whose inquisitive nature challenges the old soldier to confront his past – most notably the wartime death of his older brother.
The play is both funny and touching – at times there was hardly a dry eye in the house. Julia Mackey plays all four characters - Jake, Isabelle, Isabelle’s grandmother, and a Canadian teacher - in a remarkably seamless and engaging manner.
Following the performance, Ms. Mackey presented the Friends with a print by Steve Robertson depicting a veteran sitting with a young girl in a wartime cemetery. Remarkably, the print was produced in complete isolation and ignorance of Jake’s Gift, but nonetheless, provides a coincidental image of the play. Doug Rowland and Mike Braham are shown here with the print.
This presentation was followed by a private reception for the Friends in attendance where they had an opportunity to meet and talk with the star of the show, Julia Mackey, thus capping off a most enjoyable and fulfilling afternoon. The following photos show Mike Braham and Fletcher Thomson discussing the play with Ms. Mackey; and, the entire group of attendees with Ms. Mackey holding the Norman print.
11 November 2015: Remembrance Day
In addition to the National Service held at the National War Memorial, Canadians paused to remember the sacrifice of thousands of Canadian men and women in the pursuit of freedom in wars from the Boer War to the present day at ceremonies across the country.
Among those ceremonies was one hosted by the Canadian War Museum during which the Friends played a number of important roles as veterans sharing their experiences with visitors; providing information about the Friends and their role in supporting the War Museum; and, explaining the Museum’s exhibits to visitors, including the newly opened exhibit on “Women in War”.