Maidstone Bicentennial Museum prepares for Remembrance Week

Victoria Beaulieu, curator of the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum, poses with the scale replica of the HMS Victory, which will be on display as a part of their Remembrance Week, from November 5th to 10th.

by Garrett Fodor

As the calendar flips to the month November, Essex County residents of all ages are paying tribute to those who served to protect their land and freedoms.

  As a part of its 8th annual ‘Remembrance Week’ activities, the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum is excited to have grown its exhibit and collection. The “Remembrance Week” will run from November 5 to 10, and will display items from the War of 1812, World War I, World War II, and the Korean Wars. Representatives are excited to now have something from the Napoleonic Wars that has local ties in their collection.

  The Maidstone Bicentennial Museum’s recently purchased scale replica of the HMS Victory will be debuted at Remembrance Week. The British Government launched the HMS Victory in 1765. The 186-foot ship featured 104 canons and was remembered for the contributions and important role it played during the Napoleonic Wars and the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The vessel was also used as a naval school in the early 1900s and is still afloat in Portsmouth, England, as a museum.

  It was when it was a naval school that, according to family history, Chief Petty Officer Arthur Plant served on board the HMS Victory in England. Arthur was the son of Edwin and Elizabeth Plant, who lived in Woodslee. Returning home from the war, Arthur would live in Essex, where he became a lawyer.

  “We have Petty Officer Arthur Plant’s complete collection of uniforms, his footlocker, all of his personal items,” Victoria Beaulieu said, who is Maidstone Bicentennial Museum’s Curator. “It’s one of our pride and joy collections we do have. So, having the uniforms from the HMS victory from WWI, we felt it was really necessary that we buy a replica of the Victory.”

  Beaulieu said the vessel shows the craftsmanship and puts into perspective how impressive the tall ship is and hopes that it is something people of all ages can appreciate. She thinks that it will be special for the kids to see something like the scale replica up-close.

  Also new to this year’s “Remembrance Week,” according to Beaulieu, is more hands-on resources for the children. Youth who visit on November 9 will receive a special Remembrance Booklet, which features poetry from local poet Leonard Little, the history of Taps, the meaning of a poppy, and colouring pages, among other things.

  “This is the first year that we did the Remembrance booklet for the children,” Beaulieu said. “It was a project we thought was important to make kids remember. We like to expose the children to the history and literature, that’s part of our mandate. It’s something they can keep, and I’m hoping that they’ll take from it just how important Remembrance Week and Remembrance Day are.”

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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