The Workers’ History Museum’s was proud to take part in Colonel By Day 2013. This was our third year at this event, and our most successful yet. It was a beautiful day and lots of people were out at the Rideau Locks. At least 80 people stopped by our booth to chat about the museum.
Our Britannia Park exhibit, on its first public outing, was very well received. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson spent some time chatting with Chris Goneau, the project’s researcher. We also talked to a number of people who had been to the park as youngsters, and for whom the Britannia display brought back fond memories.
The WHM’s two videos were offered for sale, A Struggle To Remember: Fighting for Our Families and The Almonte Train Wreck: A Story of People. There was plenty of interest in both, with several older visitors remembering the difficulties they had faced before family leave was established in Canada. Hearing such stories is always such a poignant reminder of why this campaign was so important, and why it is so essential that we don’t forget the people who fought for it.
The children’s activities also drew in lots of young visitors. In addition to an easel for watercolours, children could colour in pictures of workers that one of our volunteers had designed. An Underwood typewriter from 1935 was also on display, and both adults and kids remarked on how difficult it must have been for workers to type on machines like this.
An innovation this year was to conduct video interviews of WHM volunteers during the festival. Congratulations to the Video Committee for coming up with this idea. Let’s hope these interviews encourage even more volunteers to get involved with our Workers’ History Museum.
Overall, it was a very rewarding day, and we’re looking forward to next year’s event!