The following excerpt is from the article by Noah Leafloor, of the Algonquin Times. The full article, “Explorer: War Games museum exhibit prompts you to consider big questions,” can be found online.
About 10 years ago, Andrew Burtch, a historian who works at Ottawa’s Canadian War Museum had an idea about how to offer something that directly appealed to young people.
“After observing and approaching groups of youth in our galleries discussing arms cases, it occurred to me their point of entry was because of video games like Call of Duty,” said Burtch.
Burtch is the post-1945 historian at the Canadian War Museum, and an adjunct research professor in Carleton University’s history department. He’s done a number of commemorative exhibitions, including one about the anniversary of the Korean War armistice.
Burtch simmered on the idea for a few years.
Finally, after lots of development – and pandemic-related delays – Burtch and co-author Marie-Louise Deruaz saw the War Games exhibit open on June 9, 2023.
“People can play video games at home,” said Burtch. “What we wanted to do was produce an experience where you couldn’t get on the couch.”
Why should you visit?
The War Games exhibit offers five zones of history and play made possible by dozens of contributions from the CWM and Canadian Museum of History.
The CWM also received a lot of interesting responses on the exhibit.
They had a sizable amount of visitors and it is one of the more popular exhibits in recent years. Approximately 100,000 people came through between the summer and early fall. A fair number of those lie under the young age demographic.