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Author Archives: Roland Sawatzky

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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Black Railway Workers and the Winnipeg General Strike

By Dr. Leah Morton, Curatorial Assistant in History, Manitoba Museum The Winnipeg General Strike is central to Winnipeg’s collective consciousness; however, Black workers and union members are often overlooked in narratives of the strike. This blog post looks at John Arthur Robinson, a Black railwayman who is featured on the Winnipeg Personalities wall in the new Winnipeg Gallery.    Like many other Black men, Robinson worked as a porter on…

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Little Gothic Cottage on the Prairies

In 1895 William and Isabel Brockinton had a charming Gothic cottage built on their homestead south of Melita, Manitoba. In our new Prairies Gallery we will be featuring a small touchable model and a full scale stone replica wall section of this now abandoned home. First, what’s a Gothic cottage? “Gothic” conjures all kinds of associations – darkness, brooding, mysticism, fashionable black clothing, and so on. But in architecture after…

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Winnipeg’s Window: The City Hall Stained Glass

In October 2019 the Manitoba Museum opened the Winnipeg Gallery, a permanent new exhibition space about the history and people of Winnipeg. The gallery features a large stained glass window that displays the old city crest. This window was one of two that was salvaged from the old city hall building when it was demolished in 1962, and recent research has revealed more history of this piece and the artist…

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Imprisoning Our Own: Caught at Emerson! (Part II)

Jan 9, 2019  Post by Dr. Leah Morton, Assistant Curator (History) This research was supported by a grant from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. During the Great War, 8,579 people were sent to internment camps in Canada. Over 5,000 of them were Austro-Hungarian, or Ukrainian, civilians who had been classified as ‘enemy aliens.’ They were from countries Canada was fighting against, but the main reason for their…

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Imprisoning Our Own: First World War Internment in Winnipeg (Part I)

Posted by Dr. Leah Morton, Assistant Curator (History) This research was supported by a grant from the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. During the Great War (1914-1918) Canada interned thousands of German and Ukrainian immigrants. Internment camps were set up across the country and a few ‘receiving stations’ were opened to process and hold those slated for internment. One of these receiving stations was located at the Fort…

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Legacies of Confederation: The Participation Awards!

Medals that commemorate important events in a nation’s history fill every history museum collection around the planet. Collectors and antique traders adore medals, but let’s be honest: when they’re on display they don’t have the impact of a giant dinosaur skeleton. Medals are small. But that didn’t stop politicians and government officials from clamouring for shiny objects when Canadian Confederation was officially enacted in 1867. In our exhibit “Legacies of…

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