Dive into History at The Military Museums
February 25, 2022
Currie is a community known for its connection to the Canadian Armed Forces in Calgary. Originally constructed as a military base, contemporary Currie has made an effort to remember its roots. Several heritage buildings have been preserved and spaces used by the military have been converted for use by families living there today. If you want to learn more about this story, you’ll find a treasure trove of history at The Military Museums, right in Currie’s backyard. This organization offers a comprehensive look at military history that’s sure to intrigue anyone from amateur historians to curious kids.
The Military Museums’ History
Originally, the site of The Military Museums was a junior high school, but when the school closed in the late 1980s, it was transformed into a museum by local community fundraising efforts. The Museum of Regiments, as it was originally called, was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 and has been a home for military history ever since. One of the most passionate community members who helped bring this museum to life was Captain Vernon Cole, who you may recognize from Currie’s Letters Home installation.
There have been many exciting changes over the years, however, including updating the name to “The Military Museums” after several expansions. With time, The Military Museums became western Canada’s only tri-service museum and military history education centre. Today, it’s one of the busiest and most popular military museums outside The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
What to See and Do at The Military Museums
As you might have guessed from the name, The Military Museums consists of several museum collections. These collections highlight many branches of military history relevant to Calgary, including:
- Naval Museum of Alberta
- Army Museum of Alberta
- Air Force Museum of Alberta
- Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Museum and Archives
- Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) Museum
- King’s Own Calgary Regiment
- The Calgary Highlanders Regimental Museum and Archives
- Founders’ Gallery
Exhibits explain the history of Canada’s role in the Great War, The Second World War, Peacekeeping and Afghanistan. If you’ve ever wanted to see a fighter plane or a tank in person, you’ll be able to see them up close at The Military Museums, along with an enormous collection of weapons and other artefacts from Canada’s military history.
A Place for Kids and Adults to Learn
In addition to the exhibits on display, The Military Museums have educational programming for visitors of all ages. Specially designed games, artefact handling, and interactive software and activities help kids learn about our military history in an engaging and age-appropriate way. For adults, the Museums offer private or group tours, lecture series, learning symposia, and educational films. All this supplements the extensive written information available online and in person, for anyone who wishes to browse the collection and learn about each item.
Get Involved in the Future of The Military Museums
The Military Museums have big plans for the future. Right now, they’re working on getting a Military Immigrants exhibit ready for the spring, and it’s not too late to get involved. If you or your family member served in a non-Canadian military before migrating to Alberta, The Military Museums want to hear your story!
They’re also in the process of creating Canada’s National Afghanistan War Museum. Plans for the new museum will be unveiled soon, and you can help make it a reality by participating in market research or donating to the upcoming capital campaign.
Visit The Military Museums Today
Over 50,000 people from all over the world visit The Military Museums each year. While traffic has decreased during the pandemic, their doors are open and ready to welcome visitors to explore their 107,000 square feet of history. Visitors can discover stories of bravery and sacrifice though fascinating artefacts and other educational materials, making The Military Museums an excellent place to remember and honour the people who served in Canada’s military. Start planning your visit today—the museums are located at 4520 Crowchild Trail SW, just across the highway from Currie.
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