Volunteer Profile: Cheryl Copson

Cheryl (at right above) has been volunteering at our museum since February 2013 and has given us over 350 hours of her time. Her background in museum studies has been extremely useful to us as we’ve worked hard to bring our museum into the 21st century. And of course her cheerful and positive outlook and willingness to pitch in where ever she’s needed, are greatly appreciated!

How did you end up volunteering at the museum?

I have always had a passion for museums and history. While completing my Master’s degree, I did an internship at the Fort Erie Historical Museum. During an event for the Anniversary of the Battle of Ridgeway, I was introduced to John, who was quite interested in getting some volunteers from the Museum program. From there my interest in both history and museum lead me to start volunteering with the QOR.

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

I bring experience from working at several different museums. This has given me knowledge of best practice and techniques that assist with the proper cataloguing and storing of the objects and archives. This will help to ensure that the objects entrusted to the museum will be available to generations to come.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the museum?

I enjoy being a part of the transformations the museum has made. It is exciting to see the improvements to the exhibits, which are apparent to the public, and to the systems in place to protect the objects. Each week the museum takes steps to better itself, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.

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

As a true “museum nerd”, I am passionate about the proper tracking of objects and their provenance. I think that this information forms the basis for creating new exhibits, and allowing members of the regiment or public to research and find information they may be interested in.

Tunic of Ensign Malcolm McEcheran, first casualty of the Queen's Own Rifles at the Battle of Ridgeway (or Limeridge) June, 1866
Tunic of Ensign Malcolm McEcheran, first casualty of the Queen’s Own Rifles at the Battle of Ridgeway (or Limeridge) June, 1866

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

Ensign Malcom McEachren’s Tunic. This object is one of a kind AND incredibly important in Canadian history. McEachren was the first soldier to fall during the Battle of Ridgeway on June 2, 1866. The Battle of Ridgeway (or Limeridge) was Canada’s first battle fought exclusively by Canadian soldiers and led by Canadian officers.  This made McEachren the first Canadian Soldier to fall in battle on Canadian soil. This battle was an important factor in the path towards confederation.

Why do you think a museum like this is important?

Merely the fact that the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada is Canada’s longest continuously-serving regiment is reason enough to justify the museum’s importance. The QOR has been a part of every major war in history since its inception, which provides a unique opportunity to showcase Canadian history through the eyes of the Queen’s Own soldiers. It also means that many people are tied to the QOR and its history. Telling the story of the QOR is therefore telling the stories of many Canadians and their families.

Would you recommend volunteering to others and if so why?

YES! There are so many different aspects to the museum, and therefore many different things that need to be done to keep improving it. I think that anyone with an interest in history, research, museums, or administration would find enjoyment in volunteering with the museum.

Any other thoughts you’d like to:

Before coming to the QOR my background did not include Military history. I’ve truly enjoyed both being able to add my skills to the mix of volunteers, but I think more than that, I’ve enjoyed learning about the QOR and the military in Canada.

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

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