Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bloody history.

OMG: I love archives. But I digress....

So, yeah, I went to the Canadian War Museum today. What a bloody history us Canadians (broadly defined) have had! And on the 10 o'clock news so far there's been stories about the 90th anniversary of Beaumont Hamel and now something about the 1970 FLQ crisis, the War Measures Act and internment on the homefront during the world wars . . . and now Peter Mansbridge it talking to Jack Granatstein! Jack!!

But I digress. Let's get back to my day.

It started very early once again; I was back at Library and Archives Canada at 8:30am. Since I can't function that early, I headed up to the cafeteria for a bagel and tea. A good way to spend 25 minutes. And then I got to work. I found this great document that I totally could have used for my MA. It made me very happy, and even better, it confirmed a few things that I thought had happened, but had never before had hard evidence to prove them. Yay! I didn't get through much before lunch, mostly because I had to type out this long report. (The type was very faint, so I couldn't photocopy it.)

I headed off to the Canadian War Museum to meet friend and real-life historian JN. We had lunch in "The Mess" (of course), and I even got to benefit from JN's employee discount. Awesome. After gossiping---"it's not gossip, it's the social history of current events," says JN---and talking shop, we both headed off to work. The Military History Research Centre is definitely an improvement over the old museum's archives facility. I chatted with the archivist for much too long about all kinds of geeky things, and she gave me a personal tour of the preservation/archives inner rooms. Very cool stuff. Needless to say, I didn't get all the research done that I had wanted to, but it's okay: this gives me a reason to go back in December.

After the research centre closed, I visited the museum itself . . . for the first time. (I am ashamed to admit that I'd never even been to the old war museum.) An hour and a half in, I was spent and only up to the end of WW1, so I'll definitely have to go back another time. The museum wasn't super exciting, but I think it's fairly well done, and it was good to see in person some of the things I've read about. Like, how big and heavy guns were back then. The museum goes all the way up to Afghanistan, so I missed a lot.

I bet you think thus ended my day . . . but you're wrong. It was back to the archives for me. A little more work before finally leaving downtown at 8:30pm. Busy day. Lots more work to do tomorrow. It was a good day, though. Ottawa is totally the place to be for archive junkies in this country. Which has me wondering, What do I like about Toronto? (Other than FN, of course.)


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