Volunteer Profile: Shaun Kelly

CWO (Ret’d) Shaun Kelly (at right above) has volunteered at the museum since 2012 in the much appreciated role of Assistant Curator. Through some very challenging times he’s brought his hard work ethic, positive outlook and strong organizational skills to help us keep the museum moving forward. In 2014 Shaun was presented the Commanding Officer’s Commendation for his work with the museum.

After retiring as Regimental Sergeant Major, Shaun began work as a civilian with the Department of National Defence in the position of 4th Division Safety Officer.

How did you end up volunteering at the museum?

I was recruited by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Rob Zeidler as part of a “team” when former Curator Captain Peter Simundson retired. After 33 years of full and part-time service I was still interested in serving the Regiment in some form and my wife said I should get out of the house a least once a week.

What background do you bring with you that you think helps you contribute in this role?

As a former RSM and a member of the Regiment for 33 years I had a good idea of its history, accomplishments, and stories. I have a particular interest in our history before 1900 as I don’t think we know or share enough about that time period considering it includes the Battle of Ridgeway, the Northwest Canada Campaign and South Africa which have been somewhat overshadowed by the huge accomplishments of WWI and WWII.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the museum?

I enjoy the research I have done on our Regimental Sergeant Majors since unlike the Commanding Officers, no formal records had been kept so finding names and dates has been a real challenge. This research continues when I’m not putting up pictures, building shelving units or cleaning-out storage closets.

What aspect or content of the museum are you most passionate about and why?

As above but including learning more about the soldiers who served during the first 50 years, what they did, where they lived and what may have motivated them to join the militia.

Is there one object in the collection that really excites you or that you think people should know about?

The photos of the different Companies that were taken after the Battle of Ridgway in 1866 I find fascinating. Firstly, photography was in its infancy so to take the time to carefully document who was there must have taken a good amount of effort. Secondly, you can see real character in the faces of the men, they looked like a real tough bunch that certainly could have done some damage to the Fenians had the battle gone differently and they had the chance to close with the enemy.

Number 10 Company June 1866
Number 10 (Highland) Company June 1866

Why do you think a museum like this is important?

Countless thousands of soldiers have served under the Queen’s Own Cap badge over the past 155 years, 1700 of them have died, many others have been decorated for acts of courage and bravery, we have an obligation to remember and share their stories. The museum is an important way to preserve their memory but also to share the Regiment’s history with our serving soldiers and the public in general.

Would you recommend volunteering to others and if so why?

Our volunteers are a diverse group: serving and former members of the Regt, civilians  with a museum background and people with an interest in military history, some help at the museum and some help virtually via the internet, some come in every week and others only come by for specific tasks, all have one thing in common that is the betterment of our museum to become a multimedia resource to share our history and heritage, everyone has something to offer.

If you’d like to help volunteer at the museum, check out our Volunteer page for information and an application.

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