WWII Propaganda Posters Take Over PAMA


Whether you learned about propaganda posters in tenth grade history class, through a documentary or a film, or otherwise, seeing them this close is definitely worth a visit to Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives (PAMA).

The Images of War exhibit, featuring The Ivan Melhuish Collection of WWII Posters, has been running for a few months now at PAMA.

Propaganda posters were a means of communication during wartime, used to persuade people or promote an idea. 

According to PAMA, Melhuish collected newspaper clippings, magazines, programs, letters and other items connected to the effort in Canada during the war. Though he collected his first propaganda poster from the bulletin board at his workplace, Canada Packers, Ltd. in Toronto, he ended up collecting a whopping 295 posters by the end of the war.

The part of his collection on display at PAMA is a selection of propaganda posters from the collection of the Region of Peel Archives.

These poster campaigns promoted buying war bonds, joining the army, providing moral support, and saving resources, using symbols, frightening imagery, requests for public secrecy, emotional appeals, caricature, and the importance of every citizen contributing to their country, says PAMA.

Slogans like “Every Canadian Must Fight,” were commonly seen across Canada, rallying the public on the home front for a common purpose - winning the war.

So, what was happening in Brampton during WWII? PAMA offers an interesting quote from Melhuish: 

The whole town was a noise of excitement. Residents were all involved in one way or another with the war effort, through volunteer work with the Red Cross, or at the Maple Leaf Club, in Victory Bond Drives, or by working in essential war industries.”

If you do decide to check out this exhibit, you’ll likely be thinking about what Brampton was like during wartime by the time you leave. With free admission to PAMA all August, you won’t want to miss it.

For more information, click here.

All images courtesy of PAMA

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