Treasures from the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum
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by Frank Corcoran and Victor Rabinovitch
CMCC, Gatineau, Quebec, 2011
170 pp., illus., $49.95 paperback
If you can’t get to the Canadian Museum of Civilization or the Canadian War Museum, Treasures is the next best thing.
Understandably, this beautifully illustrated book can hold only a small portion of the more than four million artifacts that make up the two organizations’ collections. As the authors note, “the first challenge is what to include, and what to leave out.” The objects are described as “‘treasures’ of many varieties and qualities” and span more than 150 years of artifact acquisition.
The book opens with an explanation of what is collected and why. It provides background history of the two museums, along with descriptions of the buildings that house their riches.
Included are sections on general history, ethnology, archaeology, craft and design, plus a chapter devoted to military relics and one called “Especially for children.” Among the many artifacts shown are clothing, sports equipment, tools, furniture, paintings, sculptures, and dolls. The excellent photographs and descriptive texts allow your senses to take in items such as Champlain’s astrolabe, the last Red Ensign flag, the fuselage of “Billy” Barker’s Sopwith Snipe, and a Tsimshian stone mask.
Treasures is something you’ll want to keep on hand but also an inspiration to visit the museums to see more.
This review appeared in the August-September 2012 issue of Canada's History magazine.
— Beverley Tallon (Read bio)
Beverley Tallon is the Assistant Editor for Canada's History.