Supporting a New Generation of Canadian Military Historians

February 21, 2022

Despite the wide appeal of Canada’s military history among the Canadian public, the study of people, communities and nations engaged in war and conflict is often disregarded, criticized — even mocked — by some as being out of step with the prevailing culture. And yet, Canada has been shaped by war, from Indigenous conflict to the wars of Empires, and more recently through wars total and limited, peacekeeping and peacemaking operations.

Image of Historian working

Historian at work – CWM 2018-0006-0040-Dm

Canadians from across the country — English-speaking, French-speaking, new Canadians and Indigenous Peoples — in the largest cities and the smallest towns have a long history of serving and sacrificing for this country. They have stood for their beliefs, supported national goals and aided others beyond our borders.

War and conflict in their broadest sense have changed civilizations and unleashed powerful legacies that continue to shape the contemporary world. The study of war in all its facets, from technology and leadership to culture and society to gender and memorialization, open a window onto human behaviour. To understand our shared past or the world in which we live, one must know about when, how and why we fight — and when we don’t. Military history goes hand in hand with human history.

Over the past several years, university funding for the study of military history has declined significantly, making the Canadian War Museum’s new Postdoctoral Fellowship Program more important than ever. With the Museum as a centre of scholarly excellence, with world-class exhibitions, educational products and priceless collections, this new fellowship will strengthen research and allow for new stories to be told.

Dr. Tim Cook Director of Research, acclaimed author and historian, will oversee this multi-year project, which will issue its first call for applications in spring 2022. “Each fellowship gives us an opportunity to mentor the next generation of military scholars,” says Dr. Cook. “We look forward to providing them with tools, support and guidance as they explore our collection and share some of the lesser-known stories embedded in the objects and archives we steward and keep for all Canadians.”

We are especially grateful to Dr. John Scott Cowan, Principal Emeritus at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, for his advisory role on the fundraising campaign, his sage advice and his financial contribution. Our sincere thanks as well to Sir Cyril Woods, Baron of Slane and the Friends of the Canadian War Museum for their generous support of this timely initiative. We are grateful and appreciate the many donors for recognizing the importance of this program.

This new initiative could not come at a better time. “A postdoctoral fellowship program like this is much needed,” says Dr. Cowan. “It will unearth stories that might otherwise have been overlooked or lost. It will also help train a new generation of military historians, ensuring that the legacy of conflict and its impact on the history of humankind is never forgotten.”

The Museum has launched a $500,000 funding campaign and is looking for Canadians who value our military history. To learn more about how you can support the Canadian War Museum Postdoctoral Fellowship, please contact Linda Kincaid, Director, Major Gifts and Campaigns, Canadian War Museum, by telephone at 613-797-1796 or by email at