“Danger gathers upon our path. We cannot afford – and have no right – to look back. We must look forward.” – Winston Churchill, 10 December 1936
A year ago, I began a new path on life’s great journey. I decided to follow my passion for history and make it a career. In the last year, I began the first step by completing a Master of Arts in Public History at the University of Western Ontario.
My overall goal was to land a job at one of Canada’s military museums, historical societies, or heritage institutions. I’ve accomplished this goal by starting my dream job as Digital Projects Coordinator at the Juno Beach Centre Association (JBCA). This was my summer internship for the public history degree. I am happy to announce that the JBCA has extended my contract through March 2019. We are gearing up for Juno75, the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. So there’s much to be done.
I’m hopeful that this means there will still be a spot for me at the JBCA come next spring. As usual with nonprofits, it’s a funding issue, but I’m optimistic! My work this summer has seen the creation of Canada’s first Second World War podcast — Juno Beach and Beyond. Check it out! We’re just finishing up the text for an exciting temporary exhibit on Canada’s Allies at Juno Beach. I’m also taking up the task of managing a call for blog posts that we will be making public shortly.
The big project I was brought on to undertake is progressing well. We’re creating a digital map of Canadian military units in the Second World War. Visitors to the Juno Beach Centre in France will be able to follow the path their ancestors took through France. Eventually, Italy and Hong Kong will be added, along with the position of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadrons and Royal Canadian Navy ships.
In related news, I have taken up the role as Historical Advisor for Project ’44. Project ’44 is the spearhead initiative in a larger effort to give us new ways to preserve, access, and examine our military heritage in Canada. It’s a volunteer position (and a great excuse to do a lot of cool research!). We’re currently focused on mapping Canada’s Battle of Normandy. My contribution will be to advise them on various aspects of the project and undertake research relating to the role of the RCAF in Normandy and beyond.
At the same time, I’ll still be puttering away promoting Eagles over Husky. I hope to have some events to announce shortly. As always, if you’d like a signed copy, I am happy to oblige!