The Memory Wall Project / Mur de souvenir

[Mounted soldier] c.1914-1918. Image from the CCGW archives.
[Mounted soldier] c.1914-1918. Image from the CCGW archives.
We’re very happy to announce that our Memory Wall Project/Mur de souvenir is now open to the public! The Memory Wall features over 150 unnamed photographs and photo postcards from our archival collection, with images from Canada, Britain, France and Germany.

Like many institutional image collections, ours at the CCGW/CCGG contains several hundred photographs whose information has been lost. Some were sent as photo postcards to family and never written on; others show only a first name. Without traceable providence, these images would normally have been left in storage, since most are portraits and would not have been consulted for any specific reason (such as the person shown or the event captured).

Taking inspiration from a portion of an exhibition put on by the National Gallery of Canada, “The Great War: The persuasive power of photography”, we created a magnetized wall that would allow us to display unframed and un-matted photographs without damaging their edges. The photographs were selected with a special focus on those from our collection of Canadian portraits and photo postcards, and were hung on the wall using 4mm magnets over a period of several weeks. The finished wall measures 4.8m by 0.75m and is situated out of direct sunlight to protect the photographs. We are planning to rotate the images in April to ensure that none are exposed for an extended period.

The collection and the memory wall are open to the public Tuesday to Friday from 9h to17h and Saturdays from 11h to 15h30. Those interested can also view images from the wall via the History Pin “Living Legacies 1914-1918” project.

With special thanks to the National Gallery of Canada and its curator of Canadian Art, Charlie Hill for the inspiration and advice.


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