Manitoba

Winnipeg exhibit showcases posters, propaganda and other papery patriotism from WW I

'The Paper War' displays more than 120 artifacts including posters, letters, diaries, newspapers, sheet music

Darren Bernhardt - CBC News

November 08, 2017

The Military History Society of Manitoba hosts the exhibit 'The Paper War': A special look at the ephemera of the Great War 1914-1919. The exhibit runs Nov. 8-9 at the Legion House Museum in Winnipeg and includes more than 120 artifacts, from documents, posters and letters to diaries, newspapers and sheet music of the day. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)

A special — and free — exhibit in Winnipeg is showcasing the paper trail from the First World War, including items that have survived the march of more than 100 years of time.

Hosted by the Military History Society of Manitoba, the exhibit — called "The Paper War": A special look at the ephemera of the Great War 1914-1919 — includes more than 120 artifacts, from documents, posters and letters to diaries, newspapers and sheet music of the day.

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There are also prints from Group of Seven alumnus Arthur Lismer, who was commissioned as an official war artist.

"There's a little for everybody to come down and see. Whoever comes and visits is going to see a pretty good show," said Bruce Tascona, director of the Legion House Museum, where the exhibit is on display Wednesday and Thursday only.

There are so many items that the exhibit spreads from the museum space — inside the Norwood–St. Boniface branch of the Royal Canadian Legion on Marion Street — into the bingo hall.

The hall, however, is needed by the weekend, so the run is limited.

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'This exhibit is all about the paper — not rifles or weapons, but paper items that marked that time,' says Bruce Tascona, director of the Legion House Museum. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)
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The Military History Society of Manitoba hosts the exhibit 'The Paper War': A special look at the ephemera of the Great War 1914-1919. The exhibit runs Nov. 8-9, 2017 at the Legion House Museum in Winnipeg and includes more than 120 artifacts, from documents, posters and letters to diaries, newspapers and sheet music of the day. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)
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The exhibit includes more than 120 artifacts, from documents, posters and letters to diaries, newspapers and sheet music of the day. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)
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A highlight of the show is a collection of 21 First World War posters recently acquired by the museum, says Legion House Museum director Bruce Tascona. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)
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Colourful posters in the exhibit demonstrate the home front's push to support the war effort. They play on patriotism to encourage people to buy war bonds or to sign up for duty. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)
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The Military History Society of Manitoba hosts the exhibit 'The Paper War': A special look at the ephemera of the Great War 1914-1919. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)
Tap to see caption
The exhibit features more than 120 artifacts, including First World War-era newspapers. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)
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The exhibit is on display Nov. 8 and 9, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day at 134 Marion St. Admission is free. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)

A highlight of the show is a collection of 21 First World War posters recently acquired by the museum, said Tascona.

The colourful broadsides demonstrate the home front's push to support the war effort. They play on patriotism to encourage people to buy war bonds or to sign up for duty.

Their rarity is what makes them special, though. When they were first created, they would have had a short life expectancy after being pasted on walls and signposts, said Tascona.

But someone had the foresight to wrap them in protective Mylar and they have remained preserved for generations.

"This exhibit is all about the paper — not rifles or weapons, but paper items that marked that time," Tascona said.

The exhibit is on display Nov. 8 and 9, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day at 134 Marion St. It's free to see, sponsored by the Military History Society of Manitoba, the Province of Manitoba, Veterans Affairs Canada and the Manitoba World War I Museum.

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