Niagara and the Great Wars

Opening May 6, 2016 at 6:30pm
This exhibit examines the Great Wars, particularly World War I and the impact it had, on our community and the world around us. Guest curated by Cameron Ward, this collection represents the ways in which our community came together during the war years, through personal items from veterans who served and the ways in which we remember those who lost their lives. Niagara and the Great Wars was made possible by funding from the Government of Canada and will feature artifacts on display to the public from the collection of a private military collector. The exhibit also includes partnerships with the French Community, Metis and First Nation Communities, as well as both the Welland and Pelham Legion.

Niagara & the Great Wars Educational Supports:

The materials contained in the educational package were designed to provide support materials and ideas for teachers from gr. 7 – 10. They are by no means exhaustive. With the use of the website resource list, teachers should find ample materials that they can adapt as necessary for their classes.

The package includes:
- 3 stories of Metis / First Nations women and their lives before and during WWI, with resource lists
- Suggestions for the study of propaganda using actual WWI posters
- 40+ examples of Canadian WWI posters
- CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Forces) battalion list including where/how they are perpetuated today
- Website list for extra WWI resources
- A comical, but poignant, description of WWI

Please contact the Museum at 905-732-2215 for the Educational Package.

Vanessa Brownbridge

Vanessa Brownbridge is a semi abstract and motivational artist living in Ontario. She enjoys utilizing all types of traditional and experimental water-media that lend to rendering a fluid and lyrical representation of her work. As her inspiration is from her own internal journey in creation with the divine feminine it becomes channelled, visual prose on canvas. Her work will be on display until early January.

School Days

School Days examines the history of schools, from elementary to high schools, in the Welland and Pelham Communities.

Comforts of Home

This exhibit features objects that brought comfort after a hard days work. Objects include household items, fashion, toys, and religious items from places of worship.

Simply Capitol

The Capitol Theatre was designed by Welland architect Norman Kearns and built for business man Samuel Lambert. Seating 1200 people, it was the largest theatre in the Niagara Peninsula. In its early days it was a vaudeville house as well as a movie theatre, showcasing silent movies and later a format to provide entertainment and news to the people of Welland during the war. Famous Players renovated the theatre in 1955 and the Capitol closed forever in 1969. The building was demolished in 1978.
This exhibit brings the Capitol back to life with an intimate reconstruction of the movie palace, complete with box office and movies!


Art Exhibit opening October - December


Underground Railroad Exhibit - Passage to Freedom: Secrets of the Underground Railroad

Travel back to the 1800s to learn about slavery, the escape route called the Underground Railroad, and the challenges freedom seekers faced if they finally reached the “Promised Land” of Canada. In the 1850s approximately 40,000 Black refugees entered Canada from the United States, helped by such famous “conductors” as Harriet Tubman, who operated for a time from a base in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Passage to Freedom features slave narratives, a large model of a slave cabin, models of a plantation and safe-house, interactive components and clues to the secrets about fleeing to freedom.

It is divided into three parts:


Stories of capture and life as a slave.


Illustrations and narratives about the dangers of escape; signs, codes and symbols used ; the messages in spiritual songs; the importance of the stars; the inventive escape methods including a box like the one used by Henry “Box” Brown to mail himself to freedom.


Stories from former slaves and their descendants who found both freedom and prosperity in Canada, and those who found discrimination, racism and even lynching in Canada.

*Included are education manuals with stories and interactive games to use with children and school classes.

Where It Has Been:

This exhibit has travelled across Canada with stops in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC.
Recently it has been on display in the Willow Bunch Museum in Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan, Port Huron Museum in Port Huron, Michigan and Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Roanoke, Virginia.

Most recently, we were invited to participate at the Memphis in May International Festival, on the recommendation from the Consul General of Canada in Atlanta, Georgia, to represent Canada during the 2016 International Week as part of the International Salute to Canada showcase. Our travelling exhibit Passage to Freedom: Secrets of the Underground Railroad is currently on display at the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN) for the entire month of May. For more information visit the following link:

Civil Rights Museum – Passage To Freedom


22 panels and 9 display cases, cloth world and star maps, reproduction artefacts, 3 audio and 3 interactive components, cabin diorama, manuals for set up and programming.


100 square metres, 900 square feet.


$1,000 (+ taxes) for 4 week rental, additional time negotiable.


shipping costs are to be paid by the receiving venue.


Please call or email for dates.


Penny Morningstar, Curator
 Welland Historical Museum
 140 King Street, Welland ON   L3B 3J3 
Phone: 905 732 2215
 Fax: 905 732 9169

Click HERE to download the English promotional poster (pdf) or HERE for the French promotional poster (pdf) of this exhibit.

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