Monday, 28 March 2011

POW artifact: suitable for your collection?

Museums are often contacted with requests to accept donations, such as the 4800 Salt & Pepper Shakers we referred to earlier this month, or Prisoner of War artifacts, as was the case recently.

To Whom it May Concern:

I am a volunteer at a senior's residence in Toronto. An elderly gentlemen here, Dr. B, was a medical doctor at the Medicine Hat POW camp, and upon leaving the camp, the German POWs presented him with a hand-carved box containing an entire chess set that they had created in the camp. While doing some research, I became aware that you have POW artifacts in your collection. Dr. B would very much like to donate the box and chess pieces to your museum if you would deem it suitable. He would be happy to document the circumstances in which this item came into his possession.

Regards, L.G.

Although hard to pass up a fantastic offer like this - in 2008 the Galt hosted the exhibit For you the war is over: Second World War POW Experiences - there is a more suitable location for these artifacts.

Our Curator, Wendy Aitkens, responded:

Dear L.G.,

The POW artifacts in the Galt Museum & Archives collections are those that refer specifically to the Lethbridge POW Camp 133.

I suggest you contact Tim McShane, Museum Curatorial Assistant at the Esplanade Museum in Medicine Hat and discuss a possible donation of Dr. B’s POW box with him. The story of the carved box and Dr. B’s work at the camp will be more meaningful in the Medicine Hat museum.


  1. Hi, Anine & Wendy;

    Tim here, at the Esplanade in Medicine Hat. Just wanted to give you the update that L.G. did indeed contact us, and we were delighted to be offered this piece. I am in fact looking at the chess set now--we're just waiting for the Gift Agreement to come back with Dr. B's signature before we formally register this set as part of the Esplanade Museum's collection.

    As a bonus, Dr. B. also included some copies of photographs of himself, and some of the Medicine Hat POWs, and some recollections of life in Camp #132. All together, it really helps us document this important aspect of Medicine Hat's history.

    Thanks for directing L.G. and Dr. B. towards us!

  2. Hi Tim, wonderful, you are most welcome! We'll have to come check it out... ooo, perhaps you could post a picture or two?



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