Army Museum of Alberta
Welcome to The Army Museum of Alberta (AMA). This museum exhibits Alberta's land force heritage from the 1885 Northwest Rebellion to today's mission in Afghanistan. Some of the themes discussed throughout the AMA include the roles of the medical services, the artillery, chaplains, First Nations individuals and women in the army.
Current displays cover the arrival of the North West Mounted Police, the 1885 Northwest Rebellion, the early militia period prior to the First World War including units such as the 15th Light Horse and the 25th (Independent) Battery, Canadian Field Artillery.
Army Museum of Alberta
Northwest Rebellion to the First World War
After the outbreak of The First World War, many recruits came from Calgary and the surrounding areas. These displays center on the 49th Battalion from Edmonton, and the role of Sarcee Camp in Calgary. The inter-war period is represented by the South Alberta Regiment, the Chaplains branch, Peacekeeping, and the postwar army in Alberta. There are dioramas representing the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1 Field Ambulance, the Royal Canadian Signal Corps, and 41 Canadian Brigade Group.
A highlight for children is Skinner, the talking horse. There are several other similar push button audio stations as well as digital storyboards with a fine selection of historic photographs.
We are also honoured to host a very important story robe created by a First World War veteran as part of the First Nations display, on loan from the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre in Medicine Hat. This story robe is a pictographic representation of the experiences of Mike Mountain Horse during the war.
Watch for new displays coming soon on the 1885 Northwest Rebellion, horse drawn artillery, the Korean War, Peacekeeping, and the modern military in Alberta as we modernize the entire museum.
The museum will take several years to upgrade completely, but dioramas, colour schemes, text panels, labels and artifact displays will all be improved. More individual stories will be added to the museum, including many interviews with veterans which will be made available at push button sound stations.
These include stories such as that of Nurse Parsons, one of the first Canadian women to serve on active duty (during the 1885 Northwest Rebellion) and Kay McCallum, a veteran of both the Alberta Women’s Service Corps and the Canadian Women’s Army Corps who worked with top secret documents overseas in the Second World War.
Second World War to Afghanistan
Three new displays address the participation of First Nations in the army, Canada’s mission in Afghanistan and include personal reflections of women who served with the Canadian Women's Army Corps. The history of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, who were stationed in Calgary periodically between 1951 and 1968 and served in Korea and in Germany with NATO, is also highlighted.
Corporal Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom is also honoured. He was a medic killed in Afghanistan in 2006 whose family carries on his memory with the Boomer’s Legacy foundation and initiatives such as Boomer Caps.
More key artifacts like the story robe will be added. For example, Major-General Rockingham’s cap (commander of the 25th Brigade in Korea) will be on display, as well as an Iltis jeep (one of the most well-known vehicles used in Peacekeeping). A video station relating the story of Canada’s peacekeepers will also be added.
The Calgary Foundation, the Alberta Museums Association, and the Directorate of History and Heritage all contributed funds to make these improvements possible. Keep coming back to watch all the excitement unfold!
Fall of '44
The Fall of '44
The Fall of '44 is the exhibit that dominates the foyer at the entrance to The Military Museums. This exhibit commemorates the battles and intense fighting that Canadian troops were involved in during the last phases of the Second World War in Italy and Europe, and especially highlights the mutual cooperation that developed between the armoured regiments and their supporting infantry.
This close coordination was vital in operating effectively in battle zones such as the confining streets of towns and villages, where the infantry would often be required to travel with the tanks to protect them from bazookas and other projectiles, from which the tanks were particularly vulnerable.
Similarly, the infantry was dependent on armoured support to help concentrate fire on targets they identified. Working together, the tanks would be able to provide continuous covering fire to enable the infantry to close on their objectives.
Urban warfare was a grueling ordeal for soldiers, where their progress was often measured a room at a time, and when rubble in the streets barred the progress of tanks, soldiers often had to clear out defenders on their own without armoured support.
Canadian soldiers made particularly innovative use of explosive charges and grenades to create openings in walls to quickly enter and clear out a building. But it was extremely dangerous work, and snipers, booby-traps and determined counter-attacks took their toll.
The hazards of combat meant that there were many casualties during battle, and when a soldier was wounded, a fellow soldier would normally apply a field dressing to the wound until the Medic arrived with his first aid kit. Then the injured soldier would be moved to a Regimental Aid Post for further treatment, and if the wound was more serious, then they could be evacuated to a Field Hospital. Medics were well regarded by their units for the vital role they played, and were often the difference between life and death for many injured soldiers.