The Military Museums
Past Exhibits 2019

Daughters of Uranium

The Military Museums :: Founders Gallery

Sept 27, 2019 - Jan 26, 2020 

Opening Reception: Friday, Sept 27, 2019
Time: 6:00 - 9:00 pm with remarks at 6:30 pm

Guided Tour

On Friday 27 Sept 5:00 pm, please join curator Christina Cuthbertson for a guided tour of Daughters of Uranium, an exhibition by Mary Kavanagh.
Please note the Opening Reception follows the tour at 6pm.


On July 16, 1945, when the United States detonated the world's first atomic bomb, the atmospheric radiation released by this event marked the beginning of what is now called the Nuclear Anthropocene.

In this exhibition, artist Mary Kavanagh offers the viewer an immersive experience with art that has coalesced after more than a decade of research. She repositions archival material, letters, photographs. artefacts and interviews. Personal responses find form in drawings, watercolours, sculpture, video, and arrangements of collections. For this exhibition, the artist has also written labels that extend her thinking about the works in the exhibition.

Mary Kavanagh brings into view current conditions of invisibility, exposing us to the present and to the presence of the Nuclear. Derived from the chemical sciences, the term "daughters of uranium" describes the radioactive decay chain of naturally occurring uranium, (U-235 being the crucial element for sustaining a nuclear chain reaction) while evoking generations born into an uncertain future.

Mary Kavanagh is an artist and Professor in the Department of Art, University of Lethbridge, where she teaches drawing, interdisciplinary studio, spatial art practice and critical theory. Her research interests include post atomic studies; ecology and trauma; feminist theory and activism; technologies of war; and histories of medicine and science. For the past decade, Kavanagh has documented military and nuclear sites in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, Japan and Canada. In 2017 Kavanagh was awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant for her project, Atomic Tourist: Trinity, which explores nuclear anxiety in the 21st century.

Co-curators: Christina Cuthbertson and Lindsey Sharman
Co-organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Founders’ Gallery, University of Calgary


Quilts of Valour Sew Day

The Military Museums :: Founders Gallery

Saturday, August 10, 2019, 10:30am - 2:30pm 

Quilts of Valour is an extraordinary non-profit organization that brings comfort to veterans and those wounded in service with handmade quilts. The Calgary regional group will turn the atrium of the Military Museums into their workshop for the day and welcome visitors to watch the construction of a pieced quilt, see finished quilts that will be gifted in the fall, and talk informally about the process.

The spirit of the day will echo the care and techniques employed by Canadian women and girls a hundred years ago who sewed quilts to raise money for the Red Cross that are now on display in the joint exhibition, Keepsakes of Conflict, Trench Art and Other Canadian War-related Craft and Quilting for a Cause, Red Cross Quilts of the Great War.   Free with admission to TMM.


Keepsakes of Conflict and Red Cross Quilts

The Military Museums :: Founders Gallery

June 7, 2019 - Sept 2, 2019 

Opening Event: Friday, June 07, 2019

Curator’s Gallery Tour with Heather Smith, 5:00 pm
Reception 6:00 - 9:00 pm with remarks at 6:30 pm

Founders’ Gallery presents two sister exhibitions of Canadian war-related craft. Both curated by Heather Smith, this will be the first time they have been shown together. Smith writes, “Today, the objects in these exhibitions serve to commemorate the experience of Canadians during wartime, but it is interesting to consider that they were mostly made with a different purpose in mind.

Keepsakes of Conflict, Trench Art and Other Canadian War-related Craft
organized and circulated by the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery

The 100th anniversary of the First World War was an opportunity for the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery to examine the little-studied area of Canadian craft related to war. Guest curator Heather Smith brought together wide range of object, created with an even wider range of materials, by considering the different motivations of the makers. who thoughtfully groups the objects with consideration for the motivations of the makers.

The exhibition is rich with over seventy artefacts from collections across the country including those of The Military Museums of Calgary, and augmented with three remarkable works that are only available for view at Founders’ Gallery: The "Great War" Deeds of Corporal Mike Mountain Horse, a unique story robe (Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre Museum), a sweater knit by one prisoner of war for another (Glenbow Collection), and a large footlocker, beautifully carved by a German prisoner of war (Army Museum of Alberta). The handsome 120-page publication, Keepsakes of Conflict, Trench Art and Other Canadian War-related Craft, with an introduction by Laura Brandon and essay by Heather Smith will be available at The Military Museums of Calgary gift shop.

The Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery acknowledges the generous funding support provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Museums Assistance Program and sponsorship by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 59.

Quilting for a Cause: Red Cross Quilts of the Great War
organized by the Waterford Heritage & Agricultural Museum

The quilts were made to fundraise for the Canadian Red Cross so that they could support the war effort with hospitals, medical equipment and care packages. The trench art was made or collected to serve as souvenirs and gifts for loved ones, to pass time in POW camps, or to contribute to the rehabilitation of the wounded. These craft objects tell the story of war through an alternate lens – that of the individual making craft objects to serve a purpose during wartime.”

Between 1914 and 1918, entire communities joined together to create remarkable Red Cross signature quilts in support of their soldiers and the war effort. At Founders’ Gallery, we present nine stunning quilts brought together from Ontario communities to highlight an amazing history of devotion, perseverance, and commemoration of the Great War, with the addition of a remarkable example from the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. A glossy 76-page booklet with forward by James Christison and essay by Heather Smith, will be available in The Military Museums of Calgary gift shop.


Walled Off: The Politics of Containment

The Military Museums :: Founders Gallery

Feb 1, 2019 - May 20, 2019 

Walled Off: The Politics of Containment

Perhaps the ultimate denial of freedom is captivity; this exhibition brings together photographic work that explores state suppression, control and containment, and summons the never-ending quest for individual liberty and human dignity.

Curator, Dona Schwartz, University of Calgary

Artists: NOOR Za’atari project artists Nina Berman with Andrea Bruce, Alixandra Fazzina and Stanley Greene), Edmund Clark, Paula Luttringer and Peter van Agtmael

Gallery Tour: Sunday, Feb 3, 2019 2:00 pm

Dona Schwartz, Professor, Department of Art at the University of Calgary is guest curator of this group exhibition of photography. The exhibition includes four sets of works by Peter van Agtmael (USA), Edmund Clark (UK), Paula Luttringer (Argentina) and NOOR Za’atari project artists Nina Berman (USA) with Andrea Bruce (USA), Alixandra Fazzina (UK) and the late Stanley Greene (USA). Dona will give a tour of Walled Off, accompanied by Edmund Clark, who will discuss his two projects examining the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Curator, Dona Schwartz, University of Calgary


Tour of Duty

The Founders' Gallery

September 27, 2018 – January 13, 2019

Canadians and the Vietnam War

This personality based exhibit will relate a range of soldiers’ perspectives on the Vietnam War. Artifacts and oral histories from Canadians who were there will be presented. The central narrative will cover the estimated 40,000 Canadian citizens who enlisted in the U.S. military and fought overseas in the war. Other stories will be presented, including U.S. and South Vietnamese veterans who later moved to Canada.

Importantly, Canada’s official connection with the war will also be presented – the story of the International Commission of Control and Supervision. This little-known peacekeeping mission was responsible for overseeing the American withdrawal, and enabling the repatriation of hundreds of American POWs. The veterans associated with the Vietnam War have received very little recognition in Canada, and we hope to help correct this oversight.

An exhibition of 20 posters from the Whitney Museum of American Art selected from the recently acquired Daniel Wolf Collection of Protest Posters will give shape to social forces and cultural history in the United States from the early 1960’s through 1972.  As well, a sample of Vietnamese block prints from the village of Dong Ho exemplify a traditional New Year artform that declined during the war and is now being revived.

Tour of Duty: Joint Conference on the Vietnam War: Texas Tech 2019

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