Royal Military College of Canada Museum

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Royal Military College of Canada Museum
CMR - Tour martello 2.JPG
Established 1962
Location Fort Frederick 4 Passchendale Dr. on the campus of the Royal Military College of Canada Kingston, Ontario Ontario East
Coordinates 44°13′40″N 76°28′11″W / 44.2277°N 76.4696°W / 44.2277; -76.4696Coordinates: 44°13′40″N 76°28′11″W / 44.2277°N 76.4696°W / 44.2277; -76.4696
Type military history
Curator Ross McKenzie
Website [1]

The Royal Military College of Canada Museum, established in 1962, is located in a Martello tower known as Fort Frederick 4 Passchendale Dr. on the campus of the Royal Military College of Canada (RRMC or RMC) in Kingston, Ontario, and is operated by the college.[1] The Royal Military College of Canada Museum has regular hours from the last weekend in June until Labour Day. Although admission is free, donations are accepted. Guided Tours are offered in English and French. Genealogical Research and archival records services are offered relating to College history or with inquires relating to ex-cadets when permitted by privacy regulations. .[2]

The museum and historic site can also be visited via the Virtual Museum.[3] The Martello tower housing the museum is a 1790 fortification consisting mostly of earthworks with a north wall of stone masonry. It is on the Registry of Historic Places of Canada.[4] Fort Frederick is one of four Martello Towers, built by Corps of Royal Engineers between 1846 and 1848 to augment the Kingston defences. The Martello tower was named in honour of Frederick, Prince of Wales.

Mandate[edit]

The museum's mandate is to collect, conserve, research and display artefacts and records relating to the history of the RMCC, achievements of its graduates and the earlier naval history of its site, Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard which once occupied Point Frederick, the peninsula upon where the college stands.[5] The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve, research and photograph material relating to the history of the Royal Military College of Canada, its former cadets and its site, and, through the appropriate display of such items, to convey this history to the currently serving cadets, the broader College community and the public.[6]

Collections[edit]

Excavation Plaque detail, Fort Frederick Museum, Royal Military College of Canada
Leinster Plate, a collection of silverware, of the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment
Museum, Storage Facility, Fort Haldimand, Royal Military College of Canada

The RMCC Museum exhibits items about the history of the Royal Military College of Canada, the site on which it is located, and the life of the cadets.[7] The museum also holds a small collection of material related to the Point Frederick dockyard and the Royal Navy.[8]

Between 1922 and 1946, the RMC collections consisted merely of arms and military artefacts collections raised, built and maintained by individuals or very small groups of veterans. Although these items were interesting, there was no overall, coordinated story.

Lady Lee widow of Arthur Lee, 1st Viscount Lee of Fareham presented to the Royal Military College of Canada Museum in 1947 a silver-headed walking stick of her late-husband: which he used daily at RMC nearly seventy years before. The stick has two silver bands listing the places where Lee served -or visited from 1888 to 1904, which, includes Royal Military College of Canada. Lady Lee also presented the RMC Museum three photographs of Lord Lee - two of them taken in Kingston, one in uniform in 1893, and the other in 1896 wearing a checked suit, silver-topped stick in hand. The third is a photograph of the portrait by James Gunn in full regalia of a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.[9]

The museum displays collections of military memorabilia and 7000 artefacts, including a collection of 16th through 20th century arms, uniforms, flags, military art and trophies. It holds, for example, the Douglas Arms Collection[10] which was presented to RMC by Walter Douglas (RMC 1890). The Douglas Arms Collection contains over 400 guns that were originally in the ownership of Mexican President, General Porfirio Diaz. Another significant collection is the Leinster Plate, a collection of silverware, of the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment.[11] The Nanton Arms collection was presented to RMC by No 78 Colborne J. Nanton (RMC 1882). The Nanton Arms Collection contains Indian daggers and various other arms that were originally presented by the Maharajah of Cooch Behar to Nanton during his service in India prior to the First World War.[12] A model of the 112-gun HMS St Lawrence (1814) was donated in 2008. The lower floor of the Martello tower contains exhibits on the War of 1812 and the fort’s dockyard. The main floor contains exhibits on the history of the college, and personal mementos of the Old Eighteen, the first class that enrolled in 1876. A gun platform displays the original cannons at the top of the tower. The archives includes cartographic materials, prints and drawings, manuscripts and photographs. The human history consists of manuscripts, medals, military history and technology and weapons.

The museum is also responsible for a collection of Canadian landscape and military art, including paintings, sculpture, and stained glass windows on display throughout the college, though primarily in Currie Hall and Yeo Hall. The college announced in 2011 the establishment of an art venue in the New Learning Center.

Art Collection[edit]

Bas-relief of Air Commodore Leonard Birchall by André Gauthier

In 2010, Royal Military College of Canada Museum became responsible for the College’s art collection. The College's art collection consists of just over 1,000 two-dimensional works of art, such as Paintings, Limited Edition Prints, Drawings and other works on paper. The three-dimensional works in the collection include Sculptures and Stained glass. Approximately 20% of the catalogued art collection at RMCC is on display at the College and the remaining 80% is in storage in Fort Haldimand.

There are works in the art collection by: Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield (1795-1885), Christopher Clark, Charles Comfort, Forshaw Day, Jean Redpath Drummond (c.1845-c.1920), Washington F. Friend (c.1820-1886), Thomas Hilton Garside, Lawren Philip Harris, Edward John Hughes, Robert Stewart Hyndman, C.W. Jefferys, Manly MacDonald, Orlando Norie, Thomas Rowlandson, Richard Simkin, William Thurston Topham (1888-1966) and Emeric Essex Vidal (1791-1861).

The works may have been presented to the College by ex-cadets or by graduating classes on the occasion of reunions, as memorials, as commissions or purchases. The Gauthier Collection, gifted by the Class of 1974, consists of 60 military sculptures and bas reliefs by Col (Ret’d) André Gauthier, OMM, CD., including one of an Royal Military College of Canada Cadet. A watercolour of ex-cadet #444 Major-General William Bethune Lindsay, CB, CMG, DSO by Canadian artist Richard George Mathews (1870-1955), for example, was donated by ex-cadet, #10263 Don Lovell, in 1981. A landscape painting of a lumber camp in early spring by Manly Edward MacDonald (1889-1971), for example was presented by Dr. Clarence C Cook (#H6890) in 1968 on the occasion of the Class of 1918's 50th anniversary. A posthumous 3/4 length portrait of No. 1557 Colonel William Reginald Sawyer, Director of Studies 1948-1967 standing in front of the Mackenzie Building and the Stone Frigate in his academic robes was commissioned by Charles Fraser Comfort (1900-1994). Mr. John Spurr, the former RMC librarian, acquired items addressing military and political events in late 18th and early 19th century North America, limited edition maps and prints of key battles, caricatures by Thomas Rowlandson, political cartoons, and illustrations of uniforms. Mr. John Spurr acquired watercolour paintings depicting Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo (1812) Jan. 19th 1812, by Richard Simkin (1840-1926); the Battle of Fuentes d’Onoro 5 May 1811, by Orlando Norie (1832-1901); and the ruins of Ypres Cathedral with Canadian troops in the foreground, Nov. 1917 by Christopher Clark (1875-1942). Two panoramic watercolours c 1815 depict Point Frederick and Kingston Harbour and Sackett’s Harbour in New York by Emeric Essex Vidal.[13]

Memberships and affiliations[edit]

The museum is a member of the Canadian Museums Association and the Organization of Military Museums of Canada Inc. It is also accredited within the Canadian Forces Museum System. It is affiliated with the Canadian Heritage Information Network, and the Virtual Museum of Canada.[14] A cooperating association of friends of the museum has been formed to assist with projects.[15] The Parks Canada Agency often participates in joint programs, or provides supporting resources to the Royal Military College of Canada Museum, which is a partner organization.[16]

Year Significance
1918
  • Brigadier Charles N. Perreau, RMC Commandant 1915–19, indicated that he wanted to establish a museum at RMC. RMC started to collect artefacts in a piecemeal way.
  • In 1918, Col. Charles N. Perreau requested a propeller on behalf of the RMC to the Commission on War Records and Trophies. “as a memoria of the many cadets we have sent to the RAF.”[17]
1920
  • 151 Major-General Sir Archibald Macdonell, RMC commandant 1919-25 gathered trophies he had addressed to RMC from the battlefields, and a few items from different sources.
  • Maj.-Gen. Macdonell requested various War Trophies captured by the Canadian Corps be dispatched to RMC for disposal about the grounds and buildings in recognition of the record of the ex-cadets.
September 1922
  • A special army board met at RMC to look at the possibility of creating a museum in Fort Frederick, on RMC grounds. The conclusion was positive.
January 1926
  • Quartermaster General wrote to 621 Brigadier Charles Francis Constantine, DSO, RMC Commandant 1925–30 “It is the desire of National Defence Headquarters to make the museum at the Royal Military College the principal storehouse for military relics of all natures...”
  • Although the army opened many museums from 1946 to 1964, the RMC Museum did not materialize.
February 1926
  • An inventory of RMC’s holdings, 12 pages of items, many of the 1914–1918 vintage, had been captured from the Germans.
1938
  • Walter Douglas (RMC 1890) donated the 430-piece collection of arms of the late General Porfirio Díaz, former President of Mexico to RMC.
  • Most of these firearms, had little to do with RMC’s history.
1946
  • The packing cases left by Douglas had not yet been opened.
July 1946
  • RMC authorities decided to close the RMC museum.
  • Many artefacts contained in Fort Henry, a 19th Century citadel overlooking the RMC grounds were given to other military museums.
1957
  • The army published the Military Museums order which presented the parameters within which corps or unit army museums could be created, and described when and how these museums could access equipment or war trophies.
  • Many army museums started to be officially recognized.
1960
  • The idea of reopening the RMC museum resurfaced.
  • Douglas’s cases were finally opened, along with others containing the material that had been set aside in 1946.
25 June 1962
  • The new RMC Museum opened at its present location in the Martello tower at Fort Frederick.
2007
  • The pool in the Fort Haldimand dormitory, which was closed in the mid-1990s, was filled in and covered with a concrete slab. The pool area was divided up into two stories and is now used for the Museum storeroom and other storage.

[18]|-

2010
  • Royal Military College of Canada Museum became responsible for the College’s art collection

Trophies[edit]

The Royal Military College of Canada Museum curator oversees the trophies and memorials on the college grounds.

88mm gun monument at the Royal Military College of Canada.
HMCS Huron (G24) X Guns, Royal Military College of Canada
Trophy Description
  • German Anti-Tank Gun

Memorials[edit]

F-86 Sabre monument at the Royal Military College of Canada.
Other Description
  • Carriage Lamps on Crerar Gates
  • donated by Class of 1985
  • In the colours of 414 (electronic Warfare) squadron
  • presented by the class of 1972
  • refurbished with the financial support of the ex cadet club and
  • rededicated on October 6, 1996.
  • presented by Class of 1968, refurbished by RMC Club 1996.
  • presented by Class of 1971
  • from Class of 1979.
  • Gazebo behind Fort Champlain
  • from Class of 1966
  • Sidewalk- "Route 66" runs via Potters Lodge to Massey Building
  • from Class of 1966.
  • 3 stained glass windows in Mackenzie Building represent Navy, Army and Air Force designed by Robert Jekyll [19]
  • from the Class of 1956
Bailey bridge at Royal Military College of Canada constructed in 2004 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Engineering Branch

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fort Frederick". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  2. ^ "Travel guide to museums and galleries in Canada | Virtual Museum of Canada Find a Museum". Virtualmuseum.ca. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  3. ^ "Travel guide to museums and galleries in Canada | Virtual Museum of Canada Find a Museum". Virtualmuseum.ca. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  4. ^ "Martello Tower Registry of Historic Places of Canada". Historicplaces.ca. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  5. ^ "RMCC - Dockyard History - Spy Glass - Museum of the Royal Military College of Canada". Rmc-cmr.ca. 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  6. ^ A-AD-266-000/AG-001 Canadian Forces Museums – Operations and Administration 2002-04-03
  7. ^ "RMCC - Collections - Museum of the Royal Military College of Canada". Rmc.ca. 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  8. ^ "Parks Canada - Nomination of the Rideau Canal for Inscription in the World Heritage List - Nomination of the Rideau Canal for Inscription in the World Heritage List". Pc.gc.ca. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  9. ^ Lord Lee of Fareham Professor of Strategy and Tactics, R.M.C., 1893-98 By No. 2141, T. L. Brock; Royal Military College of Canada Review yearbook 1962 p 189
  10. ^ Douglas Arms Collection Retrieved 2013-05-28
  11. ^ RMC Museum - Leinster Plate Retrieved 2011-10-2
  12. ^ http://everitas.rmcclub.ca/?cat=5 No 78 Colborne J. Nanton (RMC 1882)
  13. ^ Kamille Parkinson, PhD 'An Impressive Art Collection at RMCC' (Kingston, E-veritas, June 25, 2012
  14. ^ Museum of the Royal Military College of Canada
  15. ^ Canadian Forces Museums http://www.admfincs.forces.gc.ca/admfincs/subjects/cfao/027-05_e.asp
  16. ^ "Parks Canada". Pc.gc.ca. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  17. ^ "Internet Archive: Details: The Stone Frigate, 1914". Archive.org. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  18. ^ http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/engraph/vol6/no1/PDF/11-History2_e.pdf
  19. ^ RMC Memorial windows http://www.craft.on.ca/index.php?a=Portfolio.portfolio_artist_bio&id=26
Brochures
  • Royal Military College of Canada, Fort Frederick: Facts brochure, (Kingston, 2000).
  • Royal Military College of Canada, Visit Fort Frederick and the Royal Military College of Canada Museum brochure, (Kingston, 2000).
Books
  • George F.G. Stanley, Richard A. Preston (195-?). `A short history of Kingston as a military and naval centre`. Kingston, Ont. 

External links[edit]