Special exhibition highlights the contributions of Canadian women in both World Wars
Canadian women in both World Wars – Canadian women performed crucial and often dangerous tasks during both World Wars, from manufacturing munitions to hand-painting artificial eyes for wounded servicemen. Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum in Saint-Constant / Delson is pleased to present their stories in the special exhibition World War Women, developed by the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.
Canadian women in both World Wars
“During the two World Wars, thousands of women served in the military,” said James Whitham, Acting Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Others made contributions at home, knitting socks and sending care packages to soldiers overseas. Gender barriers were lowered during the chaos of war time, providing women with unprecedented opportunities in all areas of Canadian society. This travelling exhibition tells the stories of these women in their own voices. It looks at the many ways in which women threw their energies into the war effort, often while grieving husbands, sons and brothers killed in battle.”
Divided into four thematic zones, Canadian women in both World Wars uses artifacts, images, audiovisuals and archival materials to delve into the personal stories of Canadian women during the World Wars. Visitors will meet women from volunteer organizations, wartime workplaces and branches of the military — such as Joan Arnoldi and Mary Plummer, who founded the Canadian Field Comforts Commission; Ada Sylvester, who worked at the Canadian Car and Foundry plant in present-day Thunder Bay, Ontario; and photographer Lorna Stanger of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service. The exhibition also includes the stories of some of the more than 100,000 grieving wives, mothers and sisters who lost loved ones during the wars.
Together, these stories paint a picture of how women’s lives and social roles were transformed in wartime. Their experiences forged a new understanding of women’s capabilities, both within society and within themselves.
Developed by the Canadian War Museum, World War Women will be on display at Exporail until January 6, 2019.
The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. Work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.
- Until October 28, 2018: from Wednesday through Sunday 10:00 am to 5 pm.
- From November 2, 2018 to January 6, 2019: Open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Exporail is a project of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association, a private non-profit corporation. Exporail’s regular activities are funded in part by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec and benefit from the support of Ville de Saint-Constant and Ville de Delson. Special projects of Exporail are supported by Canadian Heritage and Employment and Social Development Canada. Exporail also receives support from Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Emploi-Québec Montérégie, the Municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) de Roussillon, CN, Canadian Pacific, VIA Rail Canada, the Canadian Railroad Historical Association Foundation, Réseau de Transport Métropolitain, the Railway Association of Canada, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the YMCA of Greater Toronto and the Société des Musées du Québec.
Feature image: After D-Day on June 6, 1944, Canadian nurses followed troops as they advanced across northwestern Europe. Library and Archives Canada, PA-132851