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Peterborough’s World War I Connections Examined in Online Museum Project

November 7, 2018

Trent history students create much-needed digital history resource


As Canadians coast to coast again gather to remember and honour the sacrifices made during two world wars, the Korean War and in Afghanistan, Trent history professor Daniel Travers and his students continue their work to highlight the local connection to the first of those conflicts.

Peterborough and the First World War, an online museum found at, highlights personalities, organizations and artifacts that have a local connection to the devastating conflict that ravaged Europe from 1914 through 1918. The online museum, which started in 2017 with 18 exhibits highlighted, will see a further 15 to 20 exhibits added towards the end of this November.

The project fully involves Prof. Travers’ HIST 3551 students researching in partnership with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 52, Peterborough Museum and Archives, Trent Valley Archives, and Trent University Archives. Granted full access to archival material, students determine exhibits to be featured and then edit, curate and post those exhibits to the museum. In addition, the experiential learning aspect of the course has seen students visit the Peterborough Cenotaph, the Peterborough Armoury and Little Lake Cemetery with former Legion Branch 52 president David Edgerton and historian Don Downs as their guides.

“The First World War has now passed out of living memory – there is no one alive who remembers the war,” notes Professor Travers, who completed his undergraduate at Trent in 2004. “It is up to us as a community, as students of history, to ensure that those who fought the war, and what they fought for, are not forgotten. Peterborough has such a strong connection to the First World War with the War Memorial designed by Walter Allward (who also designed the Vimy Ridge Memorial), the Armoury in the very centre of the community, and strong (First World War) representation from a small Ontario town.”

“This is a great way to use archival sources to create digital history for students to learn about the First World War and their community, and to create a unique online resource for local historians, family members and those interested in the war.” 

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