Monday, December 7, 2015

Stepping Inside The War Museum

On Remembrance Day I paid a visit to the Canadian War Museum, and so today I'm beginning a series. The current museum replaced the previous museum in 2005, as the collection had vastly outgrown its quarters. It's stark and rather like a bunker, but designed in a way that fits its subject. The museum tells the story of warfare through the prism of the Canadian experience, both on Canadian soil and as part of world history.


One of the first stops one can make in the Museum is one of its focal points, Memorial Hall, off the main lobby. This is one of two critical architectural elements in the building, a stark and contemplative space with a single artifact and a reflecting pool. This passageway, looking back, leads to the Hall. 


The walls in here mimic tombstones, and in fact, the one artifact in Memorial Hall is the gravestone brought back from the fields of Europe, belonging to the Unknown Soldier now buried at the War Memorial.


The room- and the entire museum- is based on this focal point. The architect designed a window high on the wall opposite and positioned the entire museum in such a way that precisely at eleven in the morning on November the 11th each year, the sun will shine directly on the stone. The sheer amount of math involved in figuring that out baffles me. 


One certainly feels the silence in here. On Remembrance Day, many people leave their poppies on the stone. Like the War Memorial, this room has a hallowed sense to it.


The permanent exhibits are laid out in chronological order, starting from pre-contact history of the First Nations to the present day. This is a model of a First Nations village set out in the first portion of the exhibit space.


While this is a layout of the Plains of Abraham, a battle in what many know as the Seven Years War. In North America we call it the French and Indian War, and it was here on the fields outside the walls of old Quebec City that the British defeated the French. The lines of battle are set out in the model, and the display explains in detail how the battle progressed. Quebec City looks vastly different today.

39 comments:

  1. I do indeed feel the silence, William. Very poignant.

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  2. The war museum is very poignant. I can sense the silence too. Have a lovely Monday!

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  3. I really like the shot looking down the hallway with the slanted wall. Great mood. It looks like an interesting and thoughtful place to explore.

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  4. It is very well done , I like that second photo.

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  5. Photo #2 is amazing and poppies always break my heart to know they represent the fallen.

    Janis
    GDP

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  6. I agree with the others--the second photo is a standout.

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  7. Very interesting architecture. Thanks for taking us along on the visit!

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  8. You find out all sorts of interesting details! Thank you for sharing that!

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  9. Amazing that the light shines on the memorial at precisely the right time!

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  10. Looks like a very interesting place.

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  11. When you see situations like this you can see how architects earn their big bucks! As you say, the design planning for that one moment once a year is brilliant!

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  12. What a fascinating place this must be. And such clever architecture!

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  13. That is a very unusual building, and the interior is very appropriate for the memorial.

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  14. The architecture is very eye-catching!

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  15. An interesting place to explore, William !

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  16. It did take quite a lot of engineering skill to figure out that window and light. That is truly amazing.

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  17. @Linda: that room certainly does feel peaceful, as stark as it is.

    @Nancy: thank you!

    @Tamera: slanted walls are rather common in this place, so I like the effect.

    @Marianne: thank you!

    @Janis: I think that so many people come into that room on that day and leave poppies, it's very poignant.

    @Revrunner: thanks!

    @Halcyon: you're welcome.

    @Jennifer: I've lost track of how many times I've been in this museum.

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  18. @EG: the sheer amount of calculations involved in that boggles the mind.

    @Furry Gnome: it really is.

    @Grace: the architect really did a tremendous job with this place. I've always been impressed by it.

    @Aimee: it's stark, which is entirely fitting with its theme.

    @Linda: it's such a contrast to the old museum, which is quite classical in its look.

    @Norma: it definitely is.

    @Karl: that it is.

    @Sharon: hats off to the designer on this one!

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  19. It sounds like this is a history well told. It's too bad they don't ensure that everybody sees this museum. It would do many westerners a lot of good.

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  20. I like the building and how you photographed it!

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  21. What a great architecture! Love the 2nd shot.

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  22. Such a beautiful building. I'm amazed by the design to have sun shine at the stone at 11:00 on Nov 11 each year! There must have involved lots of work and planning.

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  23. Intriguing memorial hall. The model is beautifully displayed.

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  24. @Red: it is well designed. I think every Canadian should see it at least once in their lives.

    @VP: thank you!

    @Jose: thanks!

    @Roz: it is, yes.

    @Tamago: it baffles me, the process of figuring that out.

    @Marleen: very impressive!

    @Gemma: thank you!

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  25. Love that building, inside and out. Very impressive and I can imagine there's a lot of drama going on inside! The window really got to me.

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  26. The architecture is pretty striking and I love the poppies.

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  27. i love that roofline ... that is too cool. love the passageway too. i wonder who got the rights to build that. i say thumbs up! if i had more than 2 i would say 5 up. i need a few friends to help. ha. ha! ( :

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  28. Wonderful architecture and all the photos you took inside. An impressive place. I like that people put their poppies on the stone and the fact that the room was designed so that the sun falls on it. It would definitely make this place even more sacred than it is now at such a time.

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  29. I guess I am too peace loving to like war museums. Although come to think of it...maybe it is because of these wars that we have peace.

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  30. I like the poppies too. It is an impressive building.

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  31. You well convey the gravity of this hallowed space, William.









    Warm ALOHA,
    ComfortSpiral

    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_('')

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  32. the ww2 memorial is so impressive. My husbands relatives lived in Quebec area during the F&I war and some were captured by Indians hired by the British and well I am sure you know what happened to them. Interesting piece of his French history.
    MB

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  33. The displays seem to strike the kind of somber tone that is appropriate when contemplating war. (If you're impressed with the architect's calculating the time light will strike an object consider that many prehistoric places such as Newgrange in Ireland have the same features. I also saw a similar phenomenon calculated by Native Americans in Chaco Canyon in the U.S. southwest. Amazing.)

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  34. That's an extraordinary piece of architecture, it's very fitting for the subject..

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  35. @Lowell: it's an exceptional museum. I'm glad they built it.

    @Ciel: so do I.

    @Beth: the structure beneath that roof is the other critical element of the overall architecture, Regeneration Hall, which I'll show later on.

    @Denise: it was an ideal addition to the museum.

    @Janey: that's true.

    @Lois: I've always thought so.

    @Cloudia: it is hallowed in many ways.

    @MB: that war in many ways was the first global war, fought all over the planet.

    @Kay: that's true. The way peoples of old times were able to calculate that into their buildings is astounding.

    @Geoff: it definitely is.

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  36. Thanks for telling us about this fine museum. That is fascinating about the sun enlightening the tombstone on 11/11. The stone is indeed just like the ones in our Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries in Israel.

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  37. A most interesting museum. Fascinating side note about the window that aims light at precisely the correct time on the day of the Armistice.

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