GATINEAU, QC, Feb. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Museum of Civilization
has earned a prestigious certification for its Vachon Collection of
heraldic objects. The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board
has designated the Museum's Vachon Collection as of "outstanding
significance and national importance".
Auguste Vachon, retired archivist and Herald Emeritus at the Canadian
Heraldic Authority (Rideau Hall), and his wife Paula Gornescu-Vachon, a
former museum cataloguer, donated their vast personal collection to the
Museum of Civilization in 2010. It comprises 1,123 objects, such as
plates, bowls and many ceramic pieces, each featuring Canadian coats of
arms, armorial bearings, insignia or other heraldic symbols
representing Canadian provinces, municipalities and national as well as
"The Vachon Collection is a unique and significant addition to our
Museum," said Mark O'Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of
Civilization Corporation. "Through their generous gift, the Vachons
endowed us with more than a thousand artifacts, fully contextualized.
Together, these provide a valuable political and symbolic overview of
the last two centuries of Canada's maturation on national as well as
"We are pleased that the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board
recognizes the significance of these heraldic objects, as there is no
other comparable collection in Canada, either in private hands or in a
public institution. It is a privilege for the Canadian Museum of
Civilization to be entrusted with this legacy for the enjoyment of the
public and for the benefit of political historians and other scholars."
The Vachons built up their collection over a period of 20 years,
meticulously photographing and documenting the artifacts, recording
each one's name, date, manufacturer, country of origin and material,
along with descriptive, historical and bibliographical notes. The
oldest heraldic object dates from 1810, and a large number are from
1900 to 1914. Most were manufactured in England, while others are from
Austria and Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), Germany, Canada,
France and elsewhere.
"Thanks to this vast range of coats of arms and other symbols, we have
gained an incredible visual, tangible survey of our country's political
history and identity during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,"
said Dr. Xavier Gélinas, the Museum of Civilization's Curator, Canadian
Political History, and Assistant Director, Archaeology and History.
"The collection represents the entire spectrum of Canadian heraldry,
from the Crown, governors general and the federal government to
provinces, municipalities, universities and military regiments."
This political and symbolic significance is what makes the Vachon
Collection truly valuable in the eyes of the Canadian Cultural Property
Export Review Board, an independent tribunal of the Department of
Canadian Heritage. Yet many of the colourful and beautifully
illustrated artifacts are interesting as individual objects, and lend
themselves very well to both physical and virtual exhibitions. Some
will be presented this summer as part of the exhibition Queen and Country: Elizabeth II and Canada, 1952-2012.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization is the centre for research and
public information on the social and human history of the country.
Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the
Museum is Canada's largest and most popular cultural institution,
attracting over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum of
Civilization's principal role is to preserve and promote the heritage
of Canada for present and future generations, thereby contributing to
the promotion and enhancement of Canadian identity.
High resolution photo available upon request.
SOURCE Canadian Museum of Civilization
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