For immediate release
Gatineau (Quebec), June 28, 2012—A fascinating exhibition that commemorates Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee from a uniquely Canadian perspective opens to the public July 1, 2012 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
A Queen and Her Country recalls Her Majesty’s first 60 years as Canada’s Head of State, her many royal visits to this country and her personal connection to Canada and all Canadians, as well as to major events in our recent history.
The exhibition invites visitors to reflect on the Queen’s remarkable journey from young princess to long-serving monarch. It also illuminates Canada’s development as a modern, diverse country with enduring ties to the uniquely Canadian institution that is the Canadian Crown.
“This exhibition reminds Canadians that Her Majesty was officially declared Queen of Canada when she was just 27 years old, and that she has always had a special affection for this country and its people,” says Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “As Canada’s national museum of human history, we are proud to present this unique, pan-Canadian perspective on her 60-year reign.”
“The Diamond Jubilee is an opportunity to reflect on the role of the Crown in Canada over the past 60 years,” said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “With this wonderful exhibition, our Government is proud to work with our national museums to honour Her Majesty’s dedication and service to Canada.”
The exhibition features 60 artifacts and a rich assortment of historical images gathered from across the country. The most striking artifact is the Maple Leaf of Canada Dress, a gown Her Majesty wore at a state banquet in Ottawa in October 1957. It is adorned with a beautiful garland of maple leaves and white roses, and glitters with crystals and imitation gems. The largest artifacts are the imposing “Queen’s Beasts.” The 10 heraldic figures, which stand up to two metres high, represent the Queen’s genealogy. They were created for her coronation in 1953 and lined the path to Westminster Abbey.
Other artifacts include commemorative items such as decorated plates, spoons and tins, and an impressive collection of medals and Canada Post stamps associated with Her Majesty’s reign. Together, the artifacts and images recall Her Majesty’s first Canadian visit as the captivating Princess Elizabeth in 1951, and events as diverse as the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, the celebration of Canada’s centennial in 1967 and the proclamation of the Constitution Act in 1982.
An interactive booth will enable visitors to share their recollections of the Queen and her many tours of Canada. Exhibition curator Dr. Xavier Gélinas comments, “It is fascinating to note the strong ties established by the Queen with so many of our fellow Canadians of all social backgrounds and cultural groups. The monarchy is an institution that dates back to the Middle Ages. It is still surrounded by pomp and mystery. But Queen Elizabeth has succeeded in adding an element of affection to it in her 23 visits to a country that she knows better than many Canadians who were born here.”
A Queen and Her Country is presented at the Canadian Museum of Civilization from July 1, 2012 to January 6, 2013.
A version will also be available to other Canadian venues through the Travelling Exhibitions Service of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation.
The presentation of the Queen’s Beasts has been made possible through the generous support of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.
The exhibition is produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau).
The Canadian Museum of Civilization is the centre for research and public information on the social and human history of the country. Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Museum is Canada’s largest and most popular cultural institution, attracting over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum of Civilization’s principal role is to preserve and promote the heritage of Canada for present and future generations, thereby contributing to the promotion and enhancement of Canadian identity.
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