Visitors to Parkland Mall can now step back in time and learn about some of the contributions of Canadian veterans and view unique military artifacts.
Veterans Voices of Canada’s micro museum relocated to Parkland Mall from Sylvan Lake on June 3. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m in unit 404, next to Stitches on the west end of the mall. Admission is by donation.
Al Cameron, Veterans Voices of Canada founder, said shoppers are intrigued and history buffs are coming to the mall specifically to check out the museum.
“The foot traffic has been really good for us. We’re welcomed in Red Deer. It’s a really good move,” said Cameron who runs the museum and knows the history behind the hundreds of historical artifacts on display, including a helmet that was among the evidence presented at the Nuremberg trials where Nazi leaders faced prosecutionafter the Second World War.
The largest item currently at the museum is a full-size 1952 Willys jeep, and visitors should expect even more curiosities as the inventory grows, he said.
“We’ve got the ejection seat to a 1960-era fighter jet and we’re looking at having the engine next to it.”
He said there are artifacts from the Boer War to Afghanistan, from all sides of the conflicts, so people know exactly what Canadian men and women were fighting against.
“We’re not meaning to offend anyone by symbols, or anything else. It’s all about history, so people should be aware when they come in they’re going to see all representations — the good, the bad and the ugly.”
He said most importantly, Veterans Voices of Canada’s History Interest and Learning Centre is about remembering those who fought and sacrificed.
Special tours for individuals or groups are available by donation to hear stories about the veterans behind the items donated to the museum.
Cameron said a six-month lease has been signed, but he expects the museum will remain at the mall for a while. Parkland Mall has been extremely supportive, and the new location has made the museum easily accessible to the public.
He said the interest people have so far shows how much they appreciate and want to understand history.
“This is something that’s needed.”
More information about Veterans Voices of Canada is available online at vetvoicecan.org. The non-profit is always on the lookout for sponsors as well as volunteers for the museum and donations of artifacts.