Today at Banting House National Historic Site of Canada we were lucky to receive a donation to the collection from the London Police Service. The London Police Service had found a framed license plate associated with the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother to Canada in 1989. They recognized how important this historical artifact was to the London community and its history. They wanted to ensure that it was properly preserved and would be shared with the public as a reminder of the special occasion. What better place to house it than at Banting House NHSC, where the “Queen Mum” visited on her trip?
The license plate was used on one of the cars in her motorcade. It was made specifically for the visit and was removed at the end of her official tour. In addition to visiting Ottawa and Toronto, the Her Majesty came to London to unveil the statue of Dr. Banting (in Sir Frederick G. Banting Square) and to kindle the Flame of Hope. The London Police Service arranged the motorcade escort, provided crowd control, and ensured that the London visit ran smoothly. The Queen Mother’s visit was a significant event for Banting House and the license plate will add to the displays about her visit and its role in the history of Banting House.
The license plate not only represents a connection to the Queen Mother’s visit but also to how Banting House NHSC and the City of London have a shared history. It is a great example of how donating objects to museums can help to foster understanding and appreciation for history in the local community. Museums act as trustees for cultural objects and information and by donating objects to a museum it helps to share the stories they represent with a wider group of people.
Donations such as this show the importance of Banting House to the London community as well as how the support of the London community can be so significant to Banting House. Hopefully when others view this, it will help them consider donating historically significant objects or papers to museums in their communities in the future!
This post was written by Taryn Dewar, Graduate Research Assistant at Banting House NHSC. Taryn is a Masters candidate in Public History at Western University.