Making Connections: What Inspires Our Donors

May 1, 2013
Mrs. Maureen Barlow with her parents and brother

Mrs. Maureen Barlow with her parents and brother, 1943
© Mrs. Maureen Barlow

Every family has them — old photographs and letters, documents such as diplomas, marriage and birth certificates, perhaps a pair or two of baby shoes. These cherished mementos tell our family stories, evoking the shared experiences that have shaped our lives.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum preserve similar treasures that collectively bring to life the story of a nation — a story of shared struggles, triumphs, drama, joys and sorrows. Every year, thousands of Canadians make donations to help the Museums tell the nation’s story to more Canadians, in more ways.

Often, donors are inspired by a personal connection. For Mrs. Maureen Barlow of Pickering, Ontario, the spur was a visit in 2011 to the War Museum. “It was very inspiring and made me think of my dad,” she explains. “He served overseas from January 1943 to March 1946. It was a very difficult time for my mother with two babies. My father came back a changed man, which affected our family a great deal. I’m sure this happened to many families. However, I am very proud of him and his three brothers who served to help win the war for freedom. I donated to the War Museum because it is important that people never forget what happened during the First and Second World Wars, so that it won’t happen again.”

What does your donation support?

Pat Shapiro, the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation’s Annual Giving Officer, recently made a donation to mark the 90th birthday of her uncle, a retired colonel. “It’s a way of honouring his long service in the military,” she says. “Donations help ensure that we don’t forget about all of those who served their country. For example, donors help support the program that last year brought more than 100,000 students to visit the museums.”

Donations also support online education programs, the purchase and restoration of artifacts, the planning of exhibitions presented at the Museums and across the country, as well as special projects such as the First World War Centenary Project, which will make publicly accessible digital records of key First World War archival documents, photographs, trench newspapers and sound recordings.

Mrs. Barlow, whose father died in 2002 and whose mother is 102*, sums up her reasons for donating with a simple statement: “Without the War Museum, people would forget.”
*Mrs. Barlow’s mother recently passed away. Our condolences.

To learn how your donation can make a real difference, click on the Give Now button at the bottom of the home pages on the Museums’ website and