The story of war is often told in terms of battles and generals, but the War of 1812 affected lives across North America. Organized by guest curator Laurence Grant, this exhibition presents stories and personal experiences of the War of 1812 in the London and Western Districts. Here the battles and skirmishes that took place in Southwestern Ontario form a backdrop to lives lived during the war.

Objects, period costumes, images, text, music and oral histories chronicle the lives of individuals such as business woman Sally Ainse, prisoners of war Lydia Bacon and Mahlon Burwell, child William Pearce, and Richard Pierpoint, a member of the “Coloured Corps of Upper Canada,” among others. Together their tales personalize three years of North American history, during a time of war, when lives were lost, property destroyed and families separated. The role of First Nations and the great cultural and land losses experienced during this war are also documented.

The exhibition includes objects drawn from numerous collections. Visitors have the opportunity to see an artillery chest used during the War, First Nations beadwork and a rare cradle board, as well as unique examples of trade silver and trade goods. Selections of work by contemporary artists from the Museum’s art collection are also featured.