20th December 2011 04:23
Bomber Command Museum of Canada
Early in October Monique and I visited the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, a.k.a. the Nanton Lancaster Museum, at Nanton, Alberta (south of Calgary). Their website is http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/. Simply put, I cannot recommend this too highly. It is respectful, informative and, for those who visit it, great fun. I had the privilege of putting on a hard-hat and half-crawling up through their Lancaster bomber as far as the pilot's compartment. It was claustrophobic - how could men work in such cramped quarters ? How could they escape when the aircraft was on the verge of a spin or on fire ?
The museum has an excellent series of publications - you can read the titles and order them via the website. Like many such institutions, it is short on staff and relies heavily on volunteers. They are still hard at work getting their archives (photos, logbooks, etc) into order. I nevertheless found many interesting photographs and noted several logbooks of personnel represented in the RCAF awards data base.
The origins of the museum are moving - three men who decided they wanted to save a Lancaster from being cut into scrap, brought it to Nanton, and then asked themselves, "Now what ?" Over the years they have answered that question many times over. I have talked before of museums run by professionals who behave like amateurs, and museums run by amateurs who behave like professionals. The Nanton museum is definitely in the latter category.
Following my visit I made a financial donation to the museum, and I shall continue to offer my support. I recommend the institution to anyone who can drive to it (the rest of Nanton, with its antique stores, is also a treasure). If you cannot visit it in person, access the various sections of the website, check out their books, and be prepared to be moved and impressed.
Last edited by HughAHalliday; 20th December 2011 at 04:26.