The Lougheed House to host event that features the family’s history in 1914

The Lougheed House is turning back time to give Calgarians a look of what the city was like during the First World War. “A Family at War: the Lougheeds and the First World War” gives locals an intimate look at what life in Calgary was like during 1914.

The event takes place from Oct. 17 to Jan. 18 and provides Calgarians a chance to observe what the Lougheed family did during the war as well as what the culture of Calgary was like over 100 years ago.

“It’s really an opportunity during the centenary of the start of World War I, which of course is 1914, to explore and bring a better awareness to the incredibly unique roles that the Lougheeds played during World War I,” Kirstin Evenden, executive director of the Lougheed house said.

“We’ve got some wonderful unique photos and family treasures. So the house itself is a historic site as you know, we do have a collection here of family items and things that document their personal history” Evenden added.

“So it’s a unique opportunity for Calgarians to explore the centenary and what it means in the community, perhaps give some perspective.”

The event focuses not only on the two Lougheed brothers, Clarence and Edgar, who went overseas to fight, but also Lady Isabella and Sir James Alexander Lougheed and their involvement with politics and life in Calgary during the war.

Joe Lougheed, the grandson of Edgar Lougheed, maintains that the exhibit is a great way to learn about Calgary’s history.

While walking through the exhibit, Lougheed maintains that “this exhibit is telling a story about Calgary in The First World War and it’s also about our family, [and the] many many families that were affected by the First World War and the aftermath of it.”

“This tells Calgary’s history with the war and what Calgary was like back then, using our family as an example but its short of emblematic of thousands of Calgary families back in the day.”

– Joe Lougheed

The event includes Lougheed family history as well as history from the city’s past.

Visitors can expect to see artifacts from all aspects of life in 1914. Everything from trench artwork done by Edgar Lougheed, a top hat and cane given to Senator Lougheed by his colleagues in 1925 to water colour paintings done by Canadian artists right after the war.

Co-curator of the event, Mary-Beth Laviolette, found and constructed many aspect to the exhibit, including a uncommon collection of paintings created by the artist known as Mary Riter Hamilton.
“Hamilton, who was from Manitoba, decided that after the war ended she would go over to Europe and start painting the various battle scenes and graveyards,” Laviolette said.

“She started that project in 1919 and finished in about 1922 and she did about 300 paintings.”

“It’s a remarkable undertaking to be taken by a woman at that time and she was working with the [The War Amps of Canada]. So that’s what I was responsible for to bring into the exhibition,” Laviolette added.Mayor Naheed Nenshi, left, and Joe Lougheed, right, at the opening of the “A Family at War: the Lougheeds and the First World War” exhibit which will run until Jan. 18, 2015.

Photo by Hannah Cawsey

The exhibit will also host events such as a film gala, which will show a silent film with musical accompaniment based on each year of the war once a month. Even Remembrance Day will have a special event, as the Lougheed House will host Dr. Laura Brandon who will talk about art in the First World War.

“It’s an interesting opportunity to reflect on what happened at that time and how Canada has been involved since that point,” said Evenden. “So it’s a personal and intimate way to experience some of the issues that were going on at the time…this older history has formed Canada into how we know it today.”

The event takes place at the Lougheed House, 707 – 13th Ave. S.W. Calgary, Alta, and is open Wednesday to Friday from 11:00 am to 4:00 and Saturday to Sunday from 10:00 to 4:00. Admission prices are $8.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, $5 for students and children ages six to 12, children under the age of six are free of charge. For more information, visit www.lougheedhouse.com.

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