Colin Wyatt and Peter Laursea review the collection of historical weaponry at a recent event at the Ashton Armoury. (photo / Tim Collins)

Ashton Armoury highlights historical weapons

Saanich armoury’s display provides context to historical events

Wayne Dupphinee, curator with the Lt. General Ashton Armoury Museum, was part of the corps of volunteers on hand on Saturday at the museum for an event dubbed “Muskets to Machine Guns: The Evolution of Military Firearms.”

The presentation showcased about 40 of the museum’s 300 weapons in a presentation that spanned more than 150 years of firearms development and the role that these weapons had in Canada’s history.

“We have this fantastic collection, and once a year we bring out selected weapons that people can actually touch and hold. It’s a terrific opportunity to provide some context to history in a way that just reading about the events can’t accomplish,” said Dupphinee.

As one example, he cites the reaction he gets from visitors when they first lift a First World War vintage Lee Enfield rifle.

“These rifles are very heavy in comparison with today’s weapons. People are amazed at their weight and I’ve had more than one person mention that it’s hard to imagine troops trying to run through the mud of no man’s land carrying this weapon. It brings that history to life in a way.”

Collin Wyatt, another of the museum’s curators and one of the folks who clean, maintain and curate the facility’s weapons collection has always had an interest in firearms and echoes Dupphinee’s sentiments that these weapons are not being celebrated for their own sake but explained within the context of history.

“We show visitors the Brown Bess, for example. That’s a muzzle-loading, smooth-bore musket that was used during the War of 1812. It helps to bring the events of that war to life as people hold the (10-pound) weapon.”

All of the curators on hand at the armoury event acknowledged that the controversies surrounding firearms, particularly in light of the prevalence of mass shootings in the United States, has created the need to ensure that people understand that a historical knowledge of firearms does not translate into an advocacy for guns on any level.

“These weapons are here to teach history and the role that these guns … these tools …. had in sharing our history. It is not a celebration of firearms, but rather an effort to educate and create understanding,” said Peter Laursea, another arms curator at the museum.

In addition to the firearms in the museum’s possession, they have a significant collection of vintage clothing and uniforms, Second World War memorabilia (including an impressive display of “trench art”) and several dioramas depicting everything from a Second World War radio intercept decoding room to a First World War trench dugout.

“We also have 11 vintage military vehicles that are licensed by ICBC as roadworthy and we take them out for events and exhibits, along with some fantastic static displays,” said Dupphinee.

More information on the Ashton Armoury Museum can be found atashtonarmourymuseum.com/the-armoury.

Just Posted

Saanich rides ahead with Active Transportation Plan

Saanich plans to double the share of all trips made by active transportation by 2050.

Suman, mom of Reena Virk, has died

Mother of 1997 murder victim became an activist against bullying

CRD tightens leash on dog walkers

Five regional parks in Sooke now have new restrictions on dogs

Fire in Sooke hills park likely caused by campfire

Crews currently focus on hot spots

Remains of two people found in Ucluelet

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to Ryan Daley or Dan Archbald

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Drive-thru voting in Saanich crashes over environmental concerns

Environmental concerns over climate change could stall drive-thru voting in Saanich. Angila… Continue reading

Independent schools continue to top Fraser Institute secondary school list

Think tank says its ratings are fair to all schools, public and private

Former Somali child refugee fights to stay in Canada

Former child refugee Abdoul Abdi’s judicial review set for today in Halifax

U.S. border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Several Republicans to break from President Donald Trump amid boarder separation issues

AFN chief accused of being too close to Trudeau

Perry Bellegarde insists he is not that close to the Liberals as elections looms

Three injured after industrial explosion in Newfoundland

The roof of the warehouse was blown off in the explosion near St. John’s

Ottawa Senators trade Mike Hoffman, less than a week after allegations involving partner

Following the trade Senators make no mention of allegations against Hoffman’s partner

Most Read