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True treasure

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau capped off his eight-day visit to China with a stop in Hong Kong yesterday, where he paid tribute to the relatively small contingent of Allied soldiers—including Canadians—who were killed or captured trying to defend the former British colony from the invading Japanese army back in December, 1941.

In a fitting coincidence, the Fort Frances Museum has just opened a new exhibit in its main floor gallery entitled “Hong Kong and Beyond—Treatment of Allied PoWs held by the Japanese in the Second World War,” which was written and compiled by Service Officer Marjorie Stintzi of the Royal Canadian Legion Br. #54 in Rainy River and runs through October.

As a poignant gesture, the flower gardens outside the museum are sporting knitted poppies and the photos of 10 district soldiers known to have served in Hong Kong, including William Atkinson of Barwick, who died in battle there on Dec. 19, 1941.

The museum also is staging the “Fibre Arts Festival 2016” upstairs. Marking the first juried exhibit hosted by the local museum, it features some two dozen creations crafted by district residents.

Meanwhile, the museum is spearheading planning for the “Canada 150” exhibit slated to run next April to October in conjunction with our nation’s sesquicentennial celebrations. “Transportation” will be the theme, with district residents invited to share their ideas and stories to help compile the display.

Whether preserving local history, bringing in travelling exhibits, or showcasing area artists, not to mention also operating “The Hallett” and lookout tower sites along the riverfront during the summer months, the Fort Frances Museum continues to play a key role in our community.

Kudos to curator Sherry George and staff, as well as the “Friends of the Museum,” who work so diligently to ensure it remains a true treasure all residents can enjoy today and for years to come.

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