Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou, Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery
When the First World War broke out in Europe in the late summer of 1914, the small dominion of Newfoundland responded by raising its own regiment to send overseas, the venerable “First 500.” The Newfoundland Regiment, which initially saw action in Gallipoli, was decimated at the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, part of the Somme Offensive, on July 1, 1916. Of the more than 700 men who went “over the top” that morning, only 68 answered roll call the following day. July 1 has become an important day for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to remember and reflect on the sacrifices of those young men and all those who came after them.
The Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery’s exhibition not only tells the story of this tragic battle and the Regiment, but also the stories of the men and women who were instrumental on the home front and in non-combat roles overseas. It is both a personal and comprehensive look at Newfoundland during the First World War and the symbols and stories from this period that still inform the identity and landscape of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
Origin Studios and fabrication partner Holman Exhibits created a space that accommodates both the personal and political stories of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians while also conveying the sacrifices of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Materials and colour palettes for the exhibition were drawn from the materials of the day, including the wool uniforms, wood and steel structures, and colours from military and civilian uniforms and badges. The innovative modular graphic panel design will allow The Rooms to update and switch out panels in the future as new stories and artifacts are brought to the museum by the families of First World War participants, keeping the stories alive and ever changing.
The exhibition opened at The Rooms on July 1st, 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel.
The Rooms Museum, St. John’s, NL, 2016
Exhibit Space: 6,500 square feet
A three-dimensional virtual walkthrough of the exhibit is available on The Rooms' Great War Exhibit website, which Origin Studios designed. To experience the tour, please go to http://theroomsgreatwarexhibit.com/en/virtual-tour.
Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou was one of two finalists for the Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Museums: The History Alive! Award for 2017.
Garrett Barry, “Huge Response to The Rooms Regiment Gallery on Opening Weekend,” CBC News (3 July 2016).
Louis Power, “Princess Royal Dedicates Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery,” The Telegram (1 July 2016).
“Royal Newfoundland Regimental Gallery Unveiled at The Rooms,” VOCM (1 July 2016).