Collecting history across the province

Christy Janes
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PROVINCIAL — The First World War Road Show and Tell is making its way through the province collecting stories, artifacts and memorabilia from World War One (WWI).

Patsy Green (left) and Kerri Button examined the artifacts Green brought to the First World War Road Show and Tell in Marystown. The family mementoes belonged to a great uncle, Moses Green, who was killed in the First World War. Among the items a "death penny" (medallion), his medals and a paybook that took a bullet while in his pocket.

Curator of History, First World War history Kerri Button said, “The response has been very positive. We are very happy with the response we have gotten from local people.”

The public has been very open and eager to tell their stories about family members. Right now the team is documenting what people bring to them. Objects are photographed, photos are scanned and stories are written down in order to preserve Newfoundland and Labrador history.

“Mostly people bring in a lot of photographs, but they are also bringing letters, postcards, diaries. We even had a few early publications of books published in the immediate aftermath of the war,” Button said.

People have brought in uniforms, helmets and bits of kit. Button described the experience thus far as “incredible.”

The team has seen a bayonet, but Button encourages people not to bring weapons or munitions for safety reasons.

The items brought in for documentation are not taken from the community, but rather recorded and returned to families. If people would like to donate or loan the item to The Rooms it will be used in the temporary exhibition opening June 14 about the First World War and its impact on Newfoundland and Labrador. A permanent exhibition is slated to open July 1, 2016 — the 100th anniversary of Beaumont Hamel.

“For some people the artifacts are important to their family and they want to hang on to them. Others tell us that they think the artifacts should be shared and they want The Rooms to hang to it,” said Button.


What are they looking for?

Items that can be included in the Road Show are:

• Uniforms

• Posters/documents/certificates/diaries

• Letters/postcards/photographs/knitting patterns

• Medals/pins/recruiting materials

• Anything that attaches to the First World War and its effects.

• Stories or men and women who served overseas, family and friends left behind, war brides and widows, the changing of family roles and structures and public reaction to the war.


Who are they looking for?

People who provided medical services:

• Doctors and nurses

• Voluntary Aid Detachment, Red Cross, St. John’s Ambulance

• Stretcher-bearers


What organizations were involved?

• Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Flying Corps, Royal Air Force

• Mercantile Marine, Newfoundland Forestry Corps

• Newfoundland Patriotic Committee, Patriotic Association of Newfoundland, Women’s Patriotic Association

• Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild

• Church Lads Brigade, Methodist Guards, Presbyterian Highlanders, Legion of Frontiersmen, Catholic Cadet Corps

• Newfoundlanders who served in other countries armed forces

Organizations: Red Cross, Royal Air Force, Newfoundland Patriotic Committee Springdale Heritage Society The Anchor Inn Hotel Church of the Holy Spirit Hall

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Grand Falls-Windsor, Twillingate Fogo

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