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A Celebration of an Important Acquisition with Lord and Lady Elgin

OTTAWA, April 25, 2008 - Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC) celebrated today, in the presence of the current Lord and Lady Elgin, the acquisition of the papers, documentary art and artifacts pertaining to the 8th Earl of Elgin, from the time he served as Governor-in-Chief of the Province of Canada from 1847 to 1854.

James Bruce, the 8th Earl of Elgin, played a key role in Canada's early development. His term was marked by initiatives that forever shaped our nation, including, first and foremost, the establishment of the principles of Responsible Government which became the cornerstone of our development as a democratic nation.

"It is significant that Lord Elgin's descendants are here today, from Scotland, to celebrate with us", notes Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Ian E. Wilson. "This collection is a window on our history bringing our past to life and preserving it for another generation."

An interesting aspect to the Collection is the correspondence and material collected by Lady Elgin including letters, diaries, sketches and watercolours, which provide an exceptional insight into the role of the viceregal family, family relationships and the role of women at this period. As a family collection of papers, works of art and personal artifacts, the Lord Elgin Collection presents a behind-the-scenes history of our country, a view not found in the official documents of the time. It also documents the close association the Elgin Family has had with Canada over the past 150 years.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization will host some of the exceptional artifacts from this Collection including two paving stones thrown at Lord Elgin on April 30, 1849, his snowshoes, two pairs of beaded moccasins and two birchbark trays attributed to the Huron-Wendat artist Marguerite Vincent Lawinonkié of Wendake.

"The acquisition is the result of the fruitful co-operation with Library and Archives Canada and reflects a keen awareness by Lord Elgin of the prominence of his ancestors' role in shaping Canadian history," said Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation.

"The addition of these historical artifacts to the Museum's collection allows us to revisit a pivotal period of our past and reminds us that the building of democracy over the past 150 years has been challenging, requiring leadership to solve difficult conflicts."

Library and Archives Canada preserves the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations by showcasing and celebrating Canada's very best.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is Canada's national museum of human history. It houses more than 3 million artifacts spanning the disciplines of history, archaeology, folk culture, ethnology, postal communications and various other areas of heritage study.

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