The Canadian War Museum presents an innovative treatment of the world’s first air war

June 9, 2016


For immediate release

Ottawa, Ontario, June 9, 2016 — A visual form of storytelling fuels the exciting new exhibition Deadly Skies – Air War, 1914–1918, opening tomorrow at the Canadian War Museum. This innovative exhibition goes beyond the dogfights and uses a large-scale graphic novel format to immerse visitors in the fascinating, true experiences of nine individuals, both military and civilian, from both sides of the conflict.

“The First World War represented the first large-scale use of aircraft in warfare,” says Stephen Quick, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Each side tried to control the skies to ensure victory on the ground, and by the end of the war, it had become an integral part of any military strategy, particularly aerial reconnaissance. Deadly Skies reveals some surprising insights into what was a brand new form of warfare through nine dynamic, fascinating stories.”

These stories, based on historical research, are divided among four thematic zones: Training, Observation, Bombing and Aerial Combat. Visitors will get to know people like Marjorie Stinson, the “Flying Schoolmarm” and lead instructor at the Stinson School of Flying in San Antonio, Texas. They will also meet Eric Ohman, a Montréal pilot whose experiences embody the exhilaration, fear and challenge faced by most First World War pilots. Deadly Skies also explores a more personal side of Manfred von Richtofen, a.k.a. the “Red Baron.”

The large-scale graphic stories are complemented by more than 80 artifacts from the Museum’s collection and a number of international lenders, including the Australian War Memorial, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Imperial War Museum and Sir Peter Jackson.

A series of gallery programs and interactive presentations will further immerse visitors in the experience. Along with regular activities in the Eaton Activity Hub for educational programming, visitors will be able to step inside a reproduction observation balloon basket to perform a few typical tasks, suit up in reproductions of a pilot’s gear, learn to read and assemble an aerial map through a “map jigsaw” exercise and test their own flying abilities in a kiosk featuring the popular Ace Academy interactive motion-capture application from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Deadly Skies – Air War, 1914–1918 was developed by the Canadian War Museum, with the support of the J. P. Bickell Foundation and the Audrey S. Hellyer Foundation. The exhibition will be on display from June 10, 2016 to January 29, 2017 at the Canadian War Museum.

The Canadian War Museum also gratefully acknowledges the support of its Official Partners for the Centenary of the First World War: John and Pattie Cleghorn and Family; H.Col (Ret’d) John C. Eaton, O.Ont., K.St.J., D.Com. and H.Col Sally Horsfall Eaton, S.S.St.J., C.D., R.N., LL.D.; the Friends of the Canadian War Museum; TD Bank Group; VISITFLANDERS; and the R. Howard Webster Foundation.

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. The work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible, in part, with financial support from the Government of Canada.

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Media contacts:
Yasmine Mingay
Director, Public Affairs
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8608

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

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