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World War Women showing wartime girl power

Canadian women performed crucial and often dangerous tasks during both World Wars, from manufacturing munitions to hand-painting artificial eyes for wounded soldiers. The Lloydminster Cultural and Science Centre is pleased to present their stories in the special exhibition, World War Women.

The exhibit is a travelling one, currently on loan to the LCSC from the Canadian War Museum. As Canada’s national museum of military history, it works to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. Holly Durawa, collections coordinator with the Lloydminster Cultural and Science Centre, is honoured the exhibit can be displayed right here in the Border City.

Two women interacting with the exhibit World War Women. (Photo by Eric Healey/City of Lloydminster)

“To share the stories of women and their experiences through the wars is truly an honour,” says Durawa. “Women and girls assumed roles typically reserved for men during wartime. It’s important we recognize their accomplishments and how they contributed to the advancement of women’s rights.”

Divided into four thematic zones, World War Women uses artifacts, images, audiovisuals and archival materials to delve into the personal stories of Canadian women during the World Wars. Visitors will meet women from volunteer organizations, wartime workplaces and branches of the military — such as Joan Arnoldi and Mary Plummer, who founded the Canadian Field Comforts Commission; Ada Sylvester, who worked at the Canadian Car and Foundry plant in present-day Thunder Bay, Ontario; and photographer Lorna Stanger of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service.

One artist featured — Molly Lamb Bobak — is the only female official war artist who spent time overseas, and performed her training in Vermilion. She is recognized as one of Canada’s most celebrated war artists. The exhibition also includes the stories of some of the more than 100,000 grieving wives, mothers and sisters who lost loved ones during the wars.

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Together, these stories paint a picture of how women’s lives and social roles were transformed in wartime. Their experiences forged a new understanding of women’s capabilities, both within society and within themselves. Developed by the Canadian War Museum and through the financial support of the Government of Canada, World War Women will be on display at the Lloydminster Cultural and Science Centre from June 29 to September 20.

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