Friday, May 3, 2013


April 30, 2013
Royal Alberta Museum acquires PoW collection 

The Royal Alberta Museum will offer a unique window on the province’s history of prisoners of war (PoWs) thanks to its recent acquisition of the Robert Henderson PoW Collection.

Canada was home to nearly 35,000 PoWs, mostly German, during the Second World War. A number of detainment camps were located in Alberta, notably at Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Some camps also held civilian internees thought to be a danger to the Canadian war effort. Veterans of the First World War, most too old for active overseas service, served as camp guards.
Collector Robert Henderson spent close to four decades acquiring and researching the extensive assemblage of artifacts and materials relating to camp inmates, guards and operations. The collection’s level of documentation, which explains where, when, how and by whom most of the objects were used, is nearly as extraordinary as the objects themselves.
In total, there are more than 1000 PoW-related objects in the collection. Artifacts range from infrastructure pieces, such as an isolation cell door, to objects that shed light on camp life, including works of art created by prisoners. Also part of the acquisition is a collection of more than 600 “home front” objects.
Once processed, the collections will be assessed for display in the new Royal Alberta Museum. An online exhibit will also be developed and objects will eventually be made available for research and loans.
Operated by Alberta Culture, the Royal Alberta Museum is located in Edmonton.

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