Wish this is my last blog post for grade 9. I will be talking about the last project we did in humanities and the spring exhibition! Our project was called Dulce et Decorum Est means It is sweet and patriotic to die for one’s country, and this project was all about the contrasting narratives of World War One. The driving question was “How can we make the contrasting narratives of war come alive for an audience?”
The first thing we did to jump-start the project was go to the MONOVA museum for a little field trip. The reason we went to a museum was that we were going to create our own museum to present our work for the exhibition. On our trip to the museum, our goal was to learn how museums tell stories and what exhibits intrigued the audience more (and more).
I enjoyed the museum and I think my favourite exhibit was an interactive quiz about the history of movies (I think). Here are the notes I wrote about the museum and what I learned:
After visiting the museum we learned about the causes of war. Ms. Madsen taught us the acronym MANIA which stands for:
M – Militarism, a massive build-up of armed forces to deter rivals, glorification of military and war.
A – Alliances, Signed treaties in which each nation involved promised to defend another if attacked. Alliances made it more likely war would start and made war grow larger.
N – Nationalism, Pride and patriotism in one’s national identity, Nations wanted to assert their power it was a big cause of international tension.
I – Imperialism, The need for more colonies/territory.
A – Assassination, the spark that started the great war (ww1). Archduke Franz was assassinated by Gravrillo Princip on June 28, 1914.
Austria blamed Serbia for his death and on June 28th Austria waged war on Serbia. There was already tension between Austria so Archduke Franz’s death was the trigger for the war to start.
Since we finished learning about the causes of war we started learning about what Canada did in WW1. We watched an interesting documentary called The Story Of Us which talked about Canada’s role in WW1 https://youtu.be/b-sTWJkmqpM. We continued to learn about Trench Warfare, weaponry, PTSD, medicine and more. Then we learned about ethical judgment, ethical judgement determines the difference between right and wrong decisions. We picked a topic to then justify if the governments use of it was fair at the time. I chose the topic of governments use of propaganda.
Our chart then expanded into a paragraph and the paragraph would be about a topic you chose from 3 options and I chose Myth vs Reality of war. I used some of the knowledge from my ethical judgment sheet and used it in my paragraph, I believe I did really well on my paragraph! You can give it a read:
The Myth of War vs the Reality
People hold on to myths of war because they want to believe they were fighting for world peace. War costs much more than people think, both in regards to lives and money. The government shaped these myths through propaganda. For example, propaganda such as the posters used in WWI made war seem heroic and if you joined you would then be seen as a nobleman fighting for a cause; Much like the myths of war appealed to people and their patriotism. Most people will likely know the slogan that was on posters “I want YOU for the U.S army.” However, they did not show that war brings immense suffering causing physical and psychological injuries that stay with soldiers for life and impacts lives in many ways. Some examples are the loss of limbs which made it harder for soldiers day to day life or PTSD/shell shock which caused insomnia, headaches, trembling and more. Propaganda dehumanizes the enemy making it seem like the government is fighting the enemy because they want to protect their nation but it is just to get more territory and grow their country’s economy. People did not know about the destruction of the land from the fighting and the brutal conditions soldiers face. The war caused mistrust between groups of people, throwing immigrants into internment camps just in case they were spies or still loyal to the enemy nation. In reality, the war continues to be just as terrifying and gruesome.
Just like that we were on our last keystone! The exhibit for the spring exhibition. Our tiny class of 14 got split into two groups. My group got the topic of the traditional perception of women vs their role in the war. As I said above our plan was to transform the library into a museum. Although we all had to make individual artifacts/exhibits/art we had to talk as a group about what each person would be doing and how we would bring our section of the “museum” to life.
Blondie had the great idea of creating two contrasting murals. One of the traditional view of woman and another of their role in World War One. I chose to make my mural women’s role in ww1. I wanted to create a mosaic type art piece using triangles to create the shape of a nurse. This was my rough sketch:
After a lot of cutting and a lot of gluing I ended up with this (not the best photo):
I was so done with cutting paper after because Blondie and I also create a sign for our museum that involved cutting and gluing…
Then it was off to exhibition night! Although Blondie and I were not allowed to work together we presented our art to the audience in one presentation together. I could have been fine presenting my mural on its own saying that it represented nurses in ww1 and give some history; but together we were able to craft a stronger presentation saying that the traditional view of woman was them cleaning the house carrying for the family and always being owned by a man. Then we moved on to mine saying women stepped up to take the jobs men had to leave behind and when the war was over they did not want to go back to being housewives. They fought for their right to vote because they felt like they had proven that they are just as capable.
Overall the exhibition was very fun and I enjoyed walking around and seeing everyone’s work, my highlight was probably getting a pea plant to grow in my garden. Here are some photos of the exhibition set up:
Now to answer the driving question, “How can we make the contrasting narratives of war come alive for an audience?”
After going to the museum I learned that it is easier to engage people in your work if it involves more of their senses and is not just reading paragraphs. In our museum we had a performance to show what war could be like, we had models of gas masks made, audiobooks, even little boot camps, and actual artifacts. With all of those exhibits also came a story of war, and when our exhibits were explained orally the audience could ask questions and we could also learn from them which created interactive discussions that would be more memorable. I also learned that when talking about the history of someone’s life using quotes they have said can be quite impactful because it gives the viewer a sense of how the person was feeling. I am very proud of my work and Blondie and I had a very successful night.