Quilts Galore

In my previous job as a Digitization Facilitator, for an OurOntario project, I had the opportunity to work with a number of great local history collections.  A few of these collections contained quilts made and donated by community members.  I was instantly impressed by the work and community memory contained in so many of these handmade quilts. A number of the quilts were done as community fundraisers or as keepsakes and have local family names stitched onto them – a great source for any local historian.

Since my first introduction to quilts in a historic context I’ve continued to be amazed by the work that goes into quilt making.  Some of my favourite quilts from museum collections include: 

From the Huron Shores Museum, a Pink and White fundraiser quilt.  Community members paid a small fee to stitch their name into the quilt.  Additional details for this quilt can be seen here.

Circa 1940

Detail of a section of the names on the quilt. 

An intricate scrap style quilt held by the McCord Museum.

Crazy quilt, M965.76.1 1897, made in 1897

The Castle Kilbridge National Historic Site has placed a virtual exhibit on the Virtual Museum of Canada which focuses on quilts given as wedding presents.  The quilt below is an example of the items contained in that exhibit.  

“Rising Sun,” made in 1885

Active History Website Reviewers

Is there a heritage website you absolutely love? Or a history website you find unbearably frustrating? Active History is looking for website reviewers. The call for website reviewers posted on Active History can be seen below:

As a growing number of historical resources become available online, the internet is increasingly becoming a site of serious historical research, inquiry and education. Yet it is important to approach information on the internet with caution, assessing its value with a critical eye.

ActiveHistory.ca is expanding its review section to include scholarly analysis of websites. It is imperative in this “digital age” to develop the tools necessary to critically engage with this expanding resource base.

If you are interested in reviewing a website that features historical content, please send an expression of interest to info@activehistory.ca.

Remembrance Day in a Digital World

Each year it seems that the amount of material available to commemorate remembrance day and Canadian soldiers, grows tenfold. The mass amount of information available makes it easy to get lost while looking for relevant information. Below is a list which compiles some of the more educational and historically relevant sites I have come across.

The Veterans Affairs Canada site includes a wide variety of information on Canadian soldiers and commemoration. Some of the more noteworthy parts of this site include:

  • Heroes Remember–a video archive of personal recollections of various war efforts. This archive is searchable by both name and hometown.
  • The Canadian Virtual War Memorial–a registry of information about the graves and memorials of more than 116,000 Canadians who served. The interesting part of this being that the site also digital images of photographs and personal memorabilia about individual Canadians. Users can also contribute photos or information they may have about family members who served.
  • Diaries, Letters, and Stories–This is a collection of WWI and WWII solider diaries and letters, all of which have been transcribed and made available to the general public online. These first hand account of the potential to be used by students as primary sources.
  • Books of Remembrance–Many community libraries still house traditional books of remembrance. This archive features digital copies of many of the Books of Remembrance in the Memorial Chamber on Parliament Hill, and contains the names of many of those who participated in WWI and WWII.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) also features a number of online resources relating Canadian presence in various wars. These resources include:

  • A selection of War diaries, featuring excepts from soldiers diaries from WWI.
  • A virtual exhibit on WWII, “Faces of War.” The exhibit also allows users to explore photos from both the LAC collection and the collection held by DND.
  • Military Personnel records are also searchable via LAC. These records can be searched via names, location, military medals, war diaries, and war graves.

The Canadian Military History Gateway also features a number of interesting resources and ways of exploring Canada’s military history.

  • Canadian Military Reference Book–available in full text online, simple resource for anyone looking to gain a basic background in Canadian military history.
  • A number of lesson plans and educational suggestions relating to Canadian military history.

Lastly, From Colony to Country: A Reader’s Guide to Canadian Military History is a great resource for anyone looking for a comprehensive guide to the written material on Canadian military history. The site is divided up by military campaigns, and then each military campaign is divided into thematic subsections. The guide has been compiled by LAC and noteable military historians.