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Making This Virtual Exhibition (con't.)

What Did We Choose?

Dr. Elizabeth R. Epperly, curator. Photo: Laurie MurphyCreating an exhibition from a vast amount of material means making many painful choices. We had over five hundred and seventy scrapbook pages to choose from (each containing at least four images) and more than three hundred book covers. If we showed dozens of pages of the scrapbooks would the exhibition take too long to load and would viewers move on before they could get a sense of the elements of the whole?

Canadian writers Jane Urquhart and Lesley-Anne Bourne are shown items within L.M. Montgomery's personal scrapbooks by virtual exhibition curator Dr. Elizabeth Epperly. Photo: Laurie MurphyDr. Elizabeth R. Epperly, the curator for this Virtual Museum exhibition, settled on nineteen full scrapbook pages and chose a couple of hundred individual images from other pages to augment what those selected pages show. The choice was difficult. Many of the pages of the Prince Edward Island scrapbooks are fun to view. Montgomery was a young woman on the Island, living in a rural community where she had to make her own entertainment. She created a dark room in the old Macneill homestead in Cavendish and there spent hours developing her own photographs. She pasted some of these into her scrapbooks and preserved boxes of glass plate negatives that are now owned by the University of Guelph. The first two scrapbooks at Guelph, the red scrapbooks, are also filled with personal souvenirs and flowers and photographs, especially of her honeymoon. It is fascinating to look at Montgomery's loving preservation of her days in the literary landscapes she had dreamt of all her life. From the Ontario scrapbooks, Dr. Epperly chose to focus on several of the honeymoon pages and to show, through a combination of images scattered over dozens of pages, a sample of Montgomery's First World War memorabilia. The exhibition concentrates on the story of Colonel Sharpe and the 116th Battalion of Ontario County, a story that emerged as the curator studied the pages again and again.

Dr. Epperly has offered some context for the various kinds of images; suggested parallels between parts of the exhibition and parts of Montgomery's life or times; and urged the viewer to think of analogies to be made between images from Montgomery's time and similar images and the values they suggest in our own times.

For so many people L.M. Montgomery is Canada: what can we learn about today's Canada from the Canada she imagined and reflected?

Changing Role of Women in L.M. Montgomery's Times | List of Works | List of Libraries and Archives | Chronology | Making This Virtual Exhibition
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