Thursday, October 29, 2009

Uniformity: The Uniforms of Peace River

"Uniformity: The Uniforms of Peace River" will be running until December 15, 2009
A uniform often conjures up images of conformity, authority or identity. The early history of the European settlement of Canada is often characterized by those who were seeking to cast off the conformity and rules of the culture they were living in. They sought the adventure and freedom in the wilds of a new land and sacrificed many comforts in order to have that freedom.
All of these groups wore particular clothing in order to identify their authority or even just their state of belonging to a particular group. In this exhibit, the Museum is seeking not only to simply show those uniforms but to inspire us to consider our own viewpoints on authority, conformity, and identity. We invite visitors to examine their personal reactions to the way in which our society has enforced order, promoted identity and a sense of belonging using what is, in its basic state, a piece of cloth.
As settlement marched westward and more and more people arrived on the land, the types and personalities of those settlers became more varied. The human inclination to organize and form social structure began to rise once again. This tendency plays out in various ways, from the moral values brought in by the missionaries, to the legal order established by the North West Mounted Police. It can be found on a national level, such as military authorities, or on a smaller scale, such as the social groups which were formed in order to build a sense of community or to teach children about their culture.