Wartime Collections

Canada’s war years took place long ago. This fact can make it difficult for today’s youth to make the connection between then and now. Challenge youth to bring the wartime era to life by completing one of the following suggestions for creating a wartime collection.

Remembrance Scrapbook

Every era has its unique pop culture. Form small groups and challenge the students to fill a real or virtual scrapbook with “signs of the times” from the wartime era: song lyrics, movie posters, popular novels, magazines, fashions, recipes, postcards, concert tickets, etc. The collection can be assembled from originals borrowed from older family members or neighbours, or from electronic copies found on-line.

Memory Box

Today’s youth have much in common with the young people of the wartime eras. Have youth fill a real or virtual ‘memory box’ with reconstructions of wartime memorabilia. Discuss and then have them select what would hold special memories for a soldier, his/her sweetheart, parents, friends and family. Each item has a story to tell and a special significance for the holder of the box. Youth may choose to remember wartime songs, movies, theatre productions, concerts, cuisine, rations, personal losses, Victory Bond campaigns, newspaper clippings, photos, letters, postcards, etc. Have the youth present the treasures of their memory box to the class/group explaining each treasure's unique significance for them! This activity helps youth connect to the pop culture of the day. Many things have changed dramatically, and others, surprisingly little.

Wartime Stories

Encourage youth to search out interesting wartime stories at home by talking to their parents, grandparents, other relatives or neighbours. Have them ask to see old letters, mementos, photographs or other personal items. Challenge youth to learn about the story behind the item and record it in writing. This is an ideal opportunity to include those who have family experiences from other countries. One way to honour the stories from each youth is to create a collection of the stories and offer it to the school or community library.

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