December 3, 2020 – The Second World War was a global conflict, fought across almost every continent on land, at sea and in the air. For many Canadians, it was personal, affecting their lives as they served in uniform, contributed to the war effort from the home front, or worried about loved ones in danger. Opening on December 4 at the Canadian War Museum, the exhibition Forever Changed – Stories From the Second World War vividly brings to life the personal experiences of Canadians far away and close to home.
“Forever Changed takes a fresh approach to the history of the Second World War, as seen through the eyes of a diverse range of Canadians,” said Caroline Dromaguet, Acting President and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of History. “We’ve woven together compelling artifacts and poignant individual stories to explore the human side of war, and the costs borne by ordinary people from communities across Canada.”
The exhibition takes a story-driven approach in four thematic zones: Supporting and Defending, The War Against Germany, The War Against Japan, and A Country Shaped by War. Visitors will get to know Canadians like Alberta-born “bomb girl” Edith Vollrath, Métis seaman George Boyer of the Royal Canadian Navy, battlefield hero Alex Campbell, combat cameraman Hugh McCaughey, Nursing Sister Winnie Burwash, and Royal Canadian Air Force pilot Will Kyle. Their stories, and the stories of dozens of other Canadians — such as Bill Chong, Elsie MacGill and Marcel Ouimet — are told through compelling artifacts, stunning audiovisual productions, and powerful immersive environments.
Almost all of the exhibition’s 175 objects — which include personal letters and photographs, diaries, film clips, archival images and documents, war art, uniforms, medal sets and other artifacts — are drawn from the War Museum’s own rich collection. Half of these objects have been added to the collection since the Museum opened at its current location on the 60th anniversary of VE Day in 2005. The exhibition’s emphasis on individual experiences complements the Museum’s Canadian Experience Gallery 3, which explores the chronology and battles of the Second World War.