The Wayne State University Library System is proud to present 1812, a traveling exhibition produced by the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and arranged through the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit. The exhibit will be on display in the atrium of the David Adamany Undergraduate Library through February 28. 1812 explores the War of 1812 through the perspectives of the four central participants: Canadians (including Canadian First Peoples), Americans, the British, and Native Americans. These multiple perspectives together provide a deeper understanding of the event as a whole.
For Canadians, the War of 1812 was a successful fight for survival against American invasions. For Americans, the war was a successful defense against the British Empire, one that forced Britain to respect American sovereignty and power. For the British, the conflict was a successful but almost irrelevant sideshow, scarcely remembered today, set against the far greater generation-long war against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. For Native Americans, the war was a desperate fight for freedom and independence as they struggled to defend their homelands, and its conclusion was a catastrophic defeat.
“This exhibition offers a nuanced, thought-provoking portrait of an event that helped shape Canada as a nation,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, which operates the Canadian War Museum.
1812 vividly conveys the motivations and aspirations of the four participants, their experiences of the war, and its effect on their future. It brings to life key personalities, such as Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, who was fatally shot during the Battle of Queenston Heights and became known as “The Hero of Upper Canada”; Francis Scott Key, the Baltimore lawyer who after witnessing the British bombardment of Baltimore, Maryland, wrote the lyrics for what would eventually become the American national anthem; and the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, one of the best-known and most respected Native American military leaders who fought alongside the British and was killed during the battle of the Thames.
The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. The Consulate General of Canada in Detroit advances Canada’s relationship with the United States in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.