I was part of the planning committee for the 2007 HKVCA National Convention which was held in Calgary August 15 to 18, 2007. That committee was established in Dec 2005 and for me it was a way to get more involved with the HKVCA following my trip Hong Kong. I created and maintained the website for the convention (it's now off-line) and headed up the committee responsible for the Memorabilia Room.
With the memorabilia room we wanted to create something that would be of tremendous interest to both the convention delegates and the general public and based on the feedback I think we succeeded. As one person put it "The memorabilia room was simply fantastic! The number of people who crowded it at every opportunity is ample evidence of that."
The room included a wide variety of memorabilia items (pictures, news paper clippings, books, medals, uniforms, etc.) like you might have seen at previous conventions but what set this year apart from previous conventions was the room layout and some of the special touches. To start with the room was quite large compared to past conventions and that space was fully utilized. Glass display cases borrowed from the Glenbow Museum and the Museum of the Regiments in Calgary added another dimension to the room and allowed us to safely display irreplaceable items supplied by our convention delegates and the Museum of the Regiments in Calgary. A large video screen and seating area was setup at the far end of the room to draw people into the room and boy did that work! Throughout the convention pictures from the past couple conventions and last few trips to Hong Kong were displayed on this screen along with various documentaries on the Battle of Hong Kong. To our surprise, this video screen not only drew people into the room, but it also kept many of them occupied for hours! Some of the other additions this year included a donation box and guest book. We invited the general public to visit the memorabilia room throughout the convention so the donation box and guest book was a way for them to contribute.
In total nearly 30 individuals supplied content for the memorabilia room. Here are a few highlights:
In the last few days leading up to the convention we decided to extend the hours for the memorabilia room. That was sure the right thing to do. People took every opportunity they could get to spend time in the room. These extra hours made the convention quite hectic for me, but it was well worth to see all the people so interested in what was on display in the room. Whether folks were paging through the large number of binders or scrap books, studying the contents of the display cases, watching one of the documentaries on the large screen, chatting with Vince about his C-Force POW lists to track down a relative, or chatting with any of the other volunteers to learn more about their displays, everyone just seem so interested in the moment.
The memorabilia room was definitely a busy place and we even had a few special guests pass through:
Allan Mondor and Scott Birmingham setting up the display cases (Photo by Mike Babin)