During the summer of 1918, a conscientious objector and labour organizer in British Columbia was shot to death while trying to evade conscription.
More than a century later, an innovative museum project exploring the tragic life and death of Albert “Ginger” Goodwin has won the country’s top award for community history programming.
The Cumberland Museum and Archives of Cumberland will receive the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming for its project, the 100th Anniversary of the Death of Albert “Ginger” Goodwin. The award recognizes innovative projects that encourage communities to explore and share unique aspects of the past.
It will be presented by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada on Jan. 20, at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa.
“The Cumberland Museum and Archives is honoured to receive this recognition on behalf of all of those who have worked to keep the memory of Albert ‘Ginger’ Goodwin alive over the years,” said Robin Folvik, interim executive director of the museum and archives. “The 2018 events brought people together from near and far, and truly was a community celebration.”
Goodwin, a union organizer, was killed on July 27, 1918, less than three months before the end of the First World War. The circumstances surrounding his death were controversial and sparked outrage among workers throughout the province, leading to the Vancouver General Strike on August 2, 1918.
To mark the centenary of Goodwin’s death, the Cumberland Museum and Archives led a series of programs and events that engaged the public with history through artistic, academic and immersive experiences. The activities were dynamic and participatory — including tours, workshops, music, lectures, visual art and historical re-enactments — and examined the historical and contemporary questions of social justice, work, ethnicity, and gender. The events culminated with an emotional community re-enactment of Goodwin’s funeral.
The project was planned over the course of two years in collaboration with historians, municipal representatives, artists, writers and volunteers.
“With this project, the Cumberland Museum and Archives has connected past and present, giving a voice to stories that enrich our understanding of Canada,” said Janet Walker, president and CEO of Canada’s History Society.
The Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming is administered by Canada’s History Society and comes with a $2,500 prize. Each year, two deserving community projects are selected.
This year’s second award recipient is 1699-2018 : l’histoire d’une vie, by the Musée des Ursulines de Trois-Rivières, in Trois-Rivières, Québec.
The Governor General’s History Award recipients will also be presenting at Canada’s History Forum, taking place at the Canadian Museum of History on January 19, 2020. The forum is a day-long event that brings together historians, educators, museum curators, community leaders and the public to encourage an exchange of ideas around Canadian history.
The public event features simultaneous translation, is live-streamed online and free for the public to attend in-person or online. For more information, visit CanadasHistory.ca/CanadasHistoryForum.