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Putting Our History on Display February 26, 2008 Article in The Vanguard (Yarmouth NS) By Michael Gorman Gary Gaudet used to joke that Yarmouth would have a wartime museum one day even if he had to work at it until he turned 70. Fortunately for Gaudet, steps are being taken towards that goal just a little bit sooner. Gaudet, along with other members of the Wartime Heritage Association (WHA, also known as 440 Productions) is helping to organize an exhibit at the Yarmouth Mall that will show and tell the story of Yarmouth's connection to World War II. The exhibit will be heavy on stories and items from East Camp, West Camp and Camp 60 as well as people connected to Yarmouth through their training. It will also serve as an opportunity for the WHA to exhibit some of the things they have collected through the years. "(Very few people) know 20,000 guys went through Camp 60," said Gaudet. "That's more than we've ever had in the town (as a population) and that's not even counting any of the air stuff [air and naval services]." The exhibit will also feature pictures and information from the work of the WHA, which includes video productions and stage tours to legions throughout the province and in England. George Egan, the director of the WHA, said that while support for veterans and war history is high on and around Nov. 11 each year, he's hoping exhibits such as this one can help preserve such memories not only on a more regular basis, but also for many years to come. "Hopefully we will stir some interest in the community in making the wartime history of the town a little bit more dominant than it has been," he said. "There is an urgency, of sorts, to do this because the further we get away from that the more and more one tends to forget." The space for the exhibit, which organizers are hoping to have opened by the end of the month, is located in the central part of the mall and could possibly be set up in such a way so that people will be able to pass through at their leisure without having to have the space staffed. Linda Deveau of the Yarmouth Mall said the effort is in line with the mall's goal of integrating the retail side of things with work for the community. Just like groups that do fundraisers or demonstrations, Deveau was only too happy to welcome the WHA, which, she said, would have the space until a business wants to lease it. But beyond helping the community, Deveau said the subject is one that is important to her and that she believes should be promoted. "I have a brother who is a lieutenant-colonel in the air force here in Canada so these are stories and people that are very dear to my heart," she said. Gaudet said it can be frustrating trying to convince people of the value of such information, especially considering how valued it is in other parts of the world. This exhibit, he said, is a step in the right direction to putting the information out there so it is accessible to as many people as possible. Egan said the group is always happy to accept stories and artefacts from people wishing to donate or lend them. Much of what the group has came to them from veterans and the families of veterans. They will go a long way, he said, to achieving the group's ultimate goal. "It's been a dream for a very long time that we have, in the town of Yarmouth, a place that allows people to know about the wartime history of the town, the area and the connection that Yarmouth has to the rest of the world through World War II."
Putting Our History on Display
Gary Gaudet - (Photo by Michael Gorman)