News / Halifax

Halifax Explosion exhibit featuring 'important and evocative' artefacts opens this weekend

The Army Museum at the Halifax Citadel is reopening this weekend for a special exhibit featuring artefacts like a clock frozen in time on Dec. 6, 1917.

Frozen in Time: a watchman's clock found near the blast of the Halifax Explosion, its hands frozen at 9:04:35 on Dec. 6, 1917. The clock is on display at the Army Museum at the Halifax Citadel.

Zane Woodford / Metro Order this photo

Frozen in Time: a watchman's clock found near the blast of the Halifax Explosion, its hands frozen at 9:04:35 on Dec. 6, 1917. The clock is on display at the Army Museum at the Halifax Citadel.

The Army Museum at the Citadel is reopening this weekend for a special exhibit on the Halifax Explosion, featuring never-before-seen artefacts.

Media were invited to the museum, which usually ends its season on Oct. 31, on Thursday for a sneak peak at the free exhibit, open to the public on Saturday at 10 a.m., and running till Wednesday – the 100th anniversary of the explosion.

One of the new artefacts on display is a watchman’s clock, dubbed ‘Frozen In Time.’ Its hands were forever stopped at 9:04:35 on Dec. 6, 1917.

“To have a timepiece capture that horrific moment, with its hands frozen in time, I think is an important and evocative artefact to have in our institution, particularly for the centennial of the explosion,” Ken Hynes, curator of the Army Museum said in an interview.

Hynes said a worker at what is now the Irving Shipyard found the clock, and held onto it till the 1970s, when it was donated to the museum. It’s just now being put on display for the first time.

There’s also a wheelchair in the exhibit that was in use at the then-brand new Camp Hill hospital on Dec. 6, 1917.

The wheelchair will be on display for the public, but a stretcher like the ones used on that day in 1917 was deemed to fragile to display.

Hynes said the stretcher shows “the dirty work” done by the soldiers of the Halifax Garrison after the explosion – an often forgotten group of first-responders to the explosion.

“The paradox is, the explosion happened because of the First World War, and the fact that Halifax was such an important port,” Hynes said. “The fact that so many people were saved and received the immediate attention they needed was because the soldiers were here in the garrison at the time.”

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