Women, War, and the Vote

by Brooke D.

“Women, War, and the Vote” was an exhibition staged by the Royal Canadian Artillery Museum in Shilo, Manitoba in 2016 to mark the centenary of some Manitoba women getting the vote. Curator Kathleen Christensen offered BU students the opportunity to collaborate with her on the project. Here, Brooke D., a student in Brandon University’s Introduction to Public History (54.250) course, Winter 2016, describes what she learned from the experience. 

Working as a student researcher for a National Museum exhibit has been a rewarding experience.  I have gained skills in researching, writing, and communicating, and have an increased understanding of the work taken place in museums.  I agreed to take part in this opportunity because I was interested in the topic, it related to my Public History class at Brandon University, and I was curious to learn more about the planning stages of museum exhibits.

The research process for Women, War, and the Vote was my favourite part of the project because I learned a great deal about the history of the vote in Canada.  It is important to recognize the milestone of 2016 and it marking 100 years since women in Manitoba earned the right to vote provincially.  However, one must recognize that many individuals did not meet land, age, and nationality requirements and did not receive the right to vote until much later.  The complex history of voting rights in Canada became evident throughout the course of my research.

The history of the right to vote is important for Canadians to understand because it reinforces how fortunate we are to have the right to vote.  We should take advantage of the rights we have because many people in Canada’s history did not have this right.  Women, minority groups, and First Nations individuals especially struggled to gain the vote.  We have the ability to influence the leadership of the country and that should not be taken lightly.  My hope is that Women, War, and the Vote enables Canadians to recognize how fortunate we are to have the right to vote today.

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