War comes to O'Keefe

The First World War will be on display at Historic O'Keefe Ranch using 'magic lantern' slides that were created in 1920.

Cornelius O’Keefe and his late wife, Mary Ann, contributed three sons and grandson to the war effort.

The First World War broke out in 1914 and raged for four bloody years.

Called the 'War to end all wars,' the conflict left millions of people dead and changed the world forever.

The war, as a major fixture in the O'Keefe family’s life, has been the focus of exhibitions and research at the ranch, which will come to an end in 2018 with a final exhibition, 14-18: The First World War Illustrated. 

The centre of this exhibition is a collection of 123 glass “magic lantern” slides, which were created in the early 1920s and marketed towards wealthy families like the O’Keefes, to view collectively and feel as though they were part of the action.

A 'magic lantern' is a illuminated projector that shows glass slides on a projection screen.

The collection was donated to the ranch archives by Cornelius’ granddaughter, along with two original slide viewers. In 2017, it was fully digitized through the Okanagan Region Historical Digitization Project with UBC Okanagan and will be projected in the Greenhow museum from May – October 2018.

Also on view will be photographs, posters and magazines that date to the First World War, and visitors are invited to question the type of message that was portrayed to families during the war. 

Members of the community are invited to participate in the exhibition by submitting their own First World War photographs — the images will be scanned as per museum standards, and the originals returned promptly to the contributors, as well as a copy of the scans.

Interested individuals should call or email Curator Carla-Jean Stokes [email protected] 250-542-7686 before March 15.

The ranch and Greenhow Museum will re-open to the public in May 2018.

The ranch is located at 9380 Hwy 97N Vernon BC. For more information go to okeeferanch.ca.

The ranch celebrated its 150th anniversary last year, and is two weeks older than Canada.

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