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Category Archives: History

A Rich Inheritance

To celebrate Islamic History Month, I thought I would share this recent beautiful donation we have received at the Museum. This Persian carpet was made in the city of Naeen, Iran, likely in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Naeen workshops are known for making intricately designed carpets that feature a light-coloured background, often using blue as a contrasting colour. The carpets are woven and knotted on a cotton thread…

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The Story of Yee Chung Yen

Last year the Rempel-Ong family donated the “Head Tax” Certificate of Yee Chung Yen, a distant relative. The family and Museum staff have been able to piece together some parts of his personal history. Yee Chung Yen (1895-1982), later known as Henry Yee, was born in Longgang, Shenzhen District, China, and immigrated to Canada in 1917. He was forced to pay a $500 “Head Tax” to enter the country, part…

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The Tryzub: Ukrainian Canadian Veterans, Branch 141 (Part II)

For Part I: https://manitobamuseum.ca/archives/49639 When the Ukrainian Canadian Legion Branch 141 building closed on Selkirk Avenue at the end of March 2022, Vladimir Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine was a month old. I visited the Legion building and was shown the flag of Branch 141, and I was struck by the power of the symbols, given the current conflict. Though this flag has its origins among Canadian veterans from the…

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Ukrainian Canadian Veterans, Branch 141 (Part I)

Branch 141 Colour Party: Steve Lacomy, Tom Holowaty, John Wachniak, Mike Gregorash, Nick Frost. 1964 After the Second World War, hundreds of branches of the Royal Canadian Legion were established across Canada where veterans of the war could gather and socialize. These branches became important community hubs of activity, from wedding socials to charitable fundraising, to having a beer with a buddy.  The Ukrainian Canadian Veterans Branch 141 sold its…

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Making the Old New Again, but Still Old! The Winnipeg 1920 Cityscape

One of our most popular exhibits at the Museum is the “Winnipeg 1920 Cityscape”. Built in 1974, it used to be called the “Urban Gallery.” It’s the immersive experience of this gallery that makes it so popular. People love to walk through the buildings, turn corners, step through doors, discovering bits of history as they explore. But in my time at the museum I noticed a few issues with this…

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William Beal, Renaissance Man of the North

This last summer the museum installed a new permanent exhibit about William Beal in our Parklands Gallery. Beal was a settler from Minneapolis who arrived in the Swan River Valley north of Duck Mountain in 1906, and homesteaded in the Big Woody district. William Sylvester Alpheus Beal (1874-1968) is best known now as a photographer, and left behind dozens of high quality images of his fellow settlers in the region….

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Resilience during the Great Depression

In the 1930s the people of the Canadian prairies experienced both an economic collapse and an environmental disaster. The stock market crash came first, in 1929, followed by a decade of drought in central North America. Wheat prices plummeted, and many crops were totally destroyed. Two thirds of prairie residents would eventually require “public relief” to survive.   With farms failing or deserted, and local economies in crisis, there was simply…

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Remembering Private David Thomas of Peguis First Nation

In recognition and celebration of National Indigenous History Month, we’re featuring an artifact from Private David Thomas, a Peguis First Nation soldier who died in the First World War. An exhibit featuring his story and a handkerchief he had sent to his sister from Europe was on display in November 2020. Unfortunately we closed to the public that week because of a COVID-19 province wide lockdown, and no one was…

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Exploring Black History in the Museum Collections

To celebrate Black History Month, I wanted to share an important collection that helps to illuminate Black history in mid-20th century Manitoba and Western Canada. From the 1980s until 2010, the Manitoba Museum was the recipient of donations related to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a Black union of railway workers (for more information see the History blog from November 13, 2020: https://manitobamuseum.ca/black-railway-workers-and-the-winnipeg-general-strike/)     A former curator described…

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Football in Winnipeg

By Dr. Leah Morton, Curatorial Assistant in History Whether professional or amateur, Winnipeggers love their sports. Winnipeg’s relationship with sports is part of the Manitoba Museum’s Winnipeg Gallery, where over 100 ‘new to the public’ artifacts are on display. Among the artifacts are a Winnipeg Blue Bombers pin and a game programme from 1952. Further information about the team and the artifacts can be found in the digital kiosks in…

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