Updated: Feb 5, 2021
Welcome to the February edition of the blog series 50 in 50. This is the series where we pull five different artifacts from our collections at the Transcona Museum to share their stories and connection to the community of Transcona. As part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, this series will be published every month until October 2018. Let's jump right in, shall we?
#6 - TH2017.12.1
Would you believe this medicine bottle was found in the wall of a house during renovations? No? Well, the curators at the Transcona Museum couldn't believe this story either, but it's true! Found at a farmhouse in Glass, Manitoba, the paper label on the bottle is attributed to "chemist and druggist" W.A. Stills of 53 Bond Street, Transcona. The prescription was for a Bernice Colbert with the instructions to take "one teaspoonful every four hours". Besides a prescription number and an illegible doctor's name, the label provides little additional information.
The medicine bottle, however, can tell us other information the label cannot. For instance, the mould mark on the bottom of the bottle provides us with the following information: the bottle was produced by the Dominion Glass Company of Redcliff, Alberta circa May/June 1947. While this may seem like useless information, it gives the museum curators a date when trying to identify the potential Transcona and/or Springfield doctor who prescribed this medicine 71 years ago.
#7 - TH98.13
Transcona Shops Workers photograph series
In the photograph collections of the Transcona Museum is a small portrait series illustrating Canadian National Railways employees from their Western Region of operations. Of the 148 photographs in the series, 11 were taken at the Transcona Shops. The workers depicted range from supervisors to foremen across several different departments, including the Car Shop, Machine Shop, and Locomotive Shop. Dating to the 1940s, these portraits offer a glimpse of the Shops following the Second World War.
#8 - TH88.13.1
Trench art is any decorative item made by soldiers, prisoners of war, or civilians where the manufacture is directly linked to armed conflict or its consequences. It offers an insight not only into their feelings and emotions about the war, but also their surroundings and the materials they had available to them.
This particular piece of trench art is considered to be of commercial production. After the First World War, tonnes of surplus materials were sold and converted to souvenirs of the conflict. We know this piece to be a commercial item because of the engraving on the tank: "Souvenir Of The War 1914 / France 1919". The Transcona Museum has two such examples of trench art in its collections.
#9 - No accession numbers
Bank of Toronto vaults
The Transcona Museum is located at 141 Regent Avenue West, the site of a historic 1925 building that originally served as the Bank of Toronto. As a former bank, this building once contained two vaults on the premises. The first was the bank vault where money and valuables were stored, while the second vault secured the bank's records and other important documents. The bank vault was removed sometime in the early 1990s and is the location of the museum's Hall Gallery (pictured above before its removal). The records vault was located in the basement and is currently being used for exhibition storage. Although the remaining vault no longer secures priceless valuables, it serves as a fun little reminder of our building's history.
To learn more about the history of 141 Regent Avenue West and go behind-the-scenes, please join us for Doors Open Winnipeg in May 2018.
#10 - TH2016.14
CN Technical Booklets
The Transcona Museum houses hundreds of published instruction papers, booklets, and textbooks in its collections, the majority of which can relate back to workings at the Transcona Shops. Examples of technical booklets - like the ones pictured above - cover a variety of topics such as carpentry, joinery, steel-frame flat cars, woodworking, drilling, algebra, decimals, etc. These are just a sampling of the practical and technical skills needed for work at the Shops, which would vary by department. Ultimately, these booklets provided a way for Shops employees to gain practical knowledge that could better their career potential.
Come back in March for artifacts #11-15 in our 50 in 50 series.
"Canada and the First World War: Trench Art", Canadian Museum of War, accessed 24 February 2018.
"The Dominion Glass Companies of Montreal, Canada", Society for Historical Archaeology, accessed 24 February 2018.