Friday, July 21, 2017

The Arctic

The Arctic Gallery is a newly opened gallery on the top floor of the Museum of Nature. The visitor first comes across these slabs upon entry. Images are projected onto each. As to what they are? These are slabs of ice. The daily melt water is collected into drains and recycled back into freezing the ice, so the slabs are continually replenished.

Inside, the Gallery is filled with the story of the Arctic, its biosphere of life, and its relationship to those who have called it home for generations- the Inuit peoples. Below are some of the animals that can be expected to be found in Canada's far north, enduring long winters and relishing in short summers with very long days.

This was actually a work of art, Rookery, by an artist from Nunavut, Ben Kovic.

This is a fossil display of a camel. Bones have been found of these animals on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut- dating back 3.5 million years.

Another fossil- this is the skull of a mammoth. I have more from here tomorrow.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Castle

The Canadian Museum of Nature was a popular spot on Canada Day, and it was my second stop of the day. I approached from the west, where the glass lantern can be seen contrasting with the architecture of the rest of the building. At the moment, a jellyfish sculpture is hanging inside.

The architecture here is a marvel, inside and out. Galleries are organized by theme, with a new gallery on the fourth floor as well as a gallery for special exhibits. The galleries on lower floors are dedicated to rocks and minerals, water, birds, mammals, and fossils.

When visiting, I usually work my way from the top floor down. This view is from within the glass lantern, which was added in renovations that were completed in 2010 when Queen Elizabeth was here to re-dedicate the building. It replaces an original stone tower that was once here- the architect, David Ewart, ran into a problem with the soil beneath the tower that required the removal of the bulk of it.  Today the glass is a good contrast to the beauty of the rest of the building, offering good views out into the city. It has officially been named the Queens Lantern, honouring both Queen Elizabeth and her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, for whom the museum was first built as a memorial.

This is a hint of what I'll be showing you tomorrow. It's that new gallery space I was mentioning. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fallen Of War

As I am in the midst of this series, have a look at my writer's blog today, where I have a post on the ongoing series of embassy events here called Ottawa Welcomes The World.

Here are more views within Lebreton Gallery at the Canadian War Museum. Some of the heavy vehicles allow for views inside, so you can see just how cramped they can be. I have been inside some of the current equipment at a military race weekend held here in the fall- these are still not built for comfort!

Heading up from the gallery back towards the main lobby, the walls have large war art paintings mounted for viewing. That also includes nose cone art, which tended to be quite popular during the Second World War.

There was another painting hanging in a spot that I noticed when I arrived. The Flag was painted in 1918 by John Byam Liston Shaw. It was first exhibited to Canadians in 1919, and resonated strongly with families who had lost sons, brothers, husbands, or fathers during the First World War. Grief is conveyed in different ways among the onlookers, while the fallen soldier, Red Ensign, and lion sculpture represent the country and empire for which so much blood was shed. Viewing this painting, I was quite impressed with its heartbreaking power and poignancy.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Museum Views

While in the Normandy section of the World War Two exhibit area, it is possible to walk out onto a balcony that overlooks Lebreton Gallery below. This space is filled with vehicles and equipment, not just from the Canadian military, but from around the world.

After finishing with the permanent collection, I came down into Regeneration Hall. Walter Allward's preliminary sculptures for the Vimy Ridge Memorial are down here. This time they were arranged differently, since several of them are over in the temporary exhibit at the moment.

Regeneration Hall leads into Lebreton Gallery, where among other things, you can find a one man submarine as you see in the foreground of this first shot. I have more from here tomorrow.

Monday, July 17, 2017

War And History

The permanent galleries in the Canadian War Museum begin in the earliest times with conflict between First Nations peoples, moving into European contact and Canadian involvement in global conflicts as time goes on. I've been through the galleries on numerous occasions, so this visit was more of a walk through. The first two shots deal with the period of the French and Indian War, with flags greeting the visitor, and a model of the battlefield at the Fields Of Abraham outside Quebec City, where the war came to a zenith. Lines of British and French regulars, as well as militia and First Nations allies, can be made out along the contours of the model, and the display panels below the model explain what went wrong and right during the battle.

This British uniform dates back to the period of the American Revolution, which, aside from ending up seeing a lot of Loyalists move into Canada after the fact, impacted us personally- Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold (yes, that Arnold) launched a failed invasion into Quebec.

Tensions on both sides of the border defined the era, and led into the War of 1812, which is examined in this area. These weapons and tools are in a display case.

Moving ahead in time to the Second World War, I paused to try a navy cap on in a spot that simulates being out at sea. As usual, the hat doesn't fit my bloody big skull.

This portrait is by a Flight Lieutenant, Robert Stewart Hyndman, dating to the end of the war. Sergeant M.E. Boreham, The British Empire Medal depicts Myrtle Eileen Boreham, a Canadian who joined the RCAF in 1941 and served at headquarters in London through the war. She was given the medal for her devotion to duty in 1944. 

Close by, in an area that concentrates on the Italian campaign, are panels and mementos of the Devil's Brigade, the joint U.S.-Canadian group of special operators.

D-Day and the Normandy campaign get quite a lot of attention in this area of the museum, and here is some of the equipment from the campaign.