“Amherstburg and the Great War” exhibit now on display at Park House

 

The Park House Museum's "Amherstburg and the Great War" exhibit is now open. One area to view is a "communications bunker."

The Park House Museum’s “Amherstburg and the Great War” exhibit is now open. One area to view is a “communications bunker.”

A medical unit from World War I has been re-created in an upper floor room at the Park House.

A medical unit from World War I has been re-created in an upper floor room at the Park House.

A pair of authentic Ross rifles - one dug up and the other not dug up - are part of the "Amherstburg and the Great War" exhibit at the Park House Museum.

A pair of authentic Ross rifles – one dug up and the other not dug up – are part of the “Amherstburg and the Great War” exhibit at the Park House Museum.

By Ron Giofu

World War I and those local soldiers that fought in it are commemorated at the Park House Museum.

“Amherstburg and the Great War” is now on exhibit on the top floor of the museum with curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak stating the exhibit took roughly two weeks to construct.

“It’s in commemoration with the start of World War I,” said Pouget-Papak. “We are trying to tell the story of what happened during the war.”

Pouget-Papak said the exhibit attempts to shed light on local soldiers, the regiments they fought with and the battles they were in. There are pieces of the exhibit set up to try and resemble bunkers, medical outfits and what the homefront would have looked like in that era.

A communication bunker contains actual maps from the war that have been donated while the medical area contains a uniform donated by the Hutchinson family of Amherstburg.

Other uniforms have also been donated, with Pouget-Papak stating that unlike today where uniforms are standard issue, soldiers – mainly the officers – could have uniforms tailor-made as long as they kept within the guidelines of the military.

Most of the artifacts are authentic, she said, with only two reproductions. A favourite artifact of Pouget-Papak’s is a pair of Ross rifles, one that was dug out of the ground and one that was not.

The role of women during the war is also commemorated with Pouget-Papak stating that Canada was the first nation in the Empire to have women given rank as officers. There are also message walls and a television screen where people can watch documentaries from the National Film Board.

The enemy is also remembered as part of the exhibit as a small area devoted to German relics is also included.

Social assistance became more prevalent by the 1920’s due to the war, she noted.

“We did lose almost a generation of men from World War I,” said Pouget-Papak. “You had a lot of widows by then.”

Pouget-Papak added there will be a weekend event connected to the exhibit July 19-20 where a medical hospital will be set up in the yard behind the museum, lectures will be held, a soldier’s lunch served on the Sunday and a U.S. encampment. The latter is due to the town having a soldier serve with the U.S. Army during World War I. Pouget-Papak also hopes to have a “teacher’s week” where teachers can tour the exhibit for free to see if it suits their classroom lessons next year.

While the exhibit was originally supposed to close Labour Day, Pouget-Papak said the closing date has been extended to Remembrance Day.

The Park House’s summer hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2.50 for children 5-12 years of age and free for children four and under.

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