York history experts document stories of First World War at pop-up museums

Providing insight into First World War memorabilia and heirlooms, and recording people’s stories, is the idea behind Toronto’s Great War Attic, a series of pop-up style museums happening across the city until Nov. 28.

City curator Wayen Reeves (centre) discussing some photgraphs with a visitor at Zion Schoolhouse with Craig Heron on the left
City curator Wayen Reeves (centre) discussing some photgraphs with a visitor at Zion Schoolhouse with Craig Heron on the left

York University history professors and graduate students will join staff at the City of Toronto Museum and Heritage Services in documenting the stories and artifacts, and adding context to them. People can participate by visiting one of the pop-up museum-style events or uploading stories and captioned images to the Canadian Encyclopedia website.

“Torontonians are encouraged to bring their heirlooms and keepsakes, as well as their family stories related to the war, to any of the 11 locations  across the city,” says Professor Craig Heron, the history department’s public history coordinator. “Our historians will help to gather their stories and digitally record their artifacts. They will also answer questions and provide insights about the items.”

To reflect Toronto’s rich and diverse community, residents are also encouraged to share international experiences and items with the historians and museum staff. The information collected will be included in a special section of the Canadian Encyclopedia website – creating a legacy for generations to come, according to the organizers.

Toronto’s Great War Attic is organized by the City of Toronto Museum and Heritage Services in partnership with Historica Canada, York University and the Multicultural History Society of Ontario to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

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