Highland Warriors exhibition brings broadswords and bagpipes to the Canadian War Museum

June 6, 2019


Ottawa, Ontario, June 6, 2019 — Meet the Highland soldier, an almost mythical figure with many faces: fierce protector of clans, adventurous soldier of fortune, defiant rebel, national and international hero. The Ottawa world premiere of Highland Warriors, a major new exhibition at the Canadian War Museum, explores the changing role and reputation of these iconic kilted fighters, from the broadsword-wielding medieval warrior to today’s elite modern soldier.

“The Highland military tradition has evolved from early clan warfare in Britain’s northern reaches to a highly respected global force with the power to influence and inspire,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of History. “With Highland Warriors, we are proud to bring much-deserved attention to this fascinating and lesser known chapter in military history — and especially to show how both the myth and reality have become entwined in Canada’s national identity.”

Highland Warriors explores the trajectory of an enduring military tradition over 800 years, from its origins in local medieval warfare, to its mobilization for national political influence, to its elevation as a potent symbol of British power and Canadian military prowess. From fierce Gaelic-speaking fighters of the Middle Ages, through Scottish Jacobites loyal to King James VII, to the proud traditions of Highland regiments in Canada today, the exhibition showcases a culture known as much for courage, toughness, discipline and skill, as for resplendent tartans and the haunting call of bagpipes.

The exhibition features over 200 artifacts, from Scottish museums’ world-class collections and from the Canadian War Museum, including fearsome double-handed swords, dangerous dirks, lavishly decorated pistols, uniforms, bagpipes, paintings, photographs, and military awards from two World Wars. Together with evocative text, these objects help tell the stories of the individuals and armies that have contributed to the Highland warrior’s well-earned place in history and in popular imagination.

Interactive content and hands-on activities enhance an exhibition that takes visitors not only back in time, but also around the world, ranging as far and wide as Highland soldiers themselves.

Highland Warriors, developed by Nomad Exhibitions in collaboration with the Canadian War Museum and Glasgow Museums, is presented in Ottawa from June 7, 2019 to January 12, 2020. An Ottawa world premiere!

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions. Work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

– 30 –

Media contacts:

Avra Gibbs Lamey
Senior Communications and Media Relations Officer
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607

Patricia Lynch
Acting Director, Corporate Affairs
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8666