The Golden Bridge Child Migration from Scotland to Canada 1869–1939

Exhibition Review

In summer 2001 the Quarriers Canadian Family newsletter carried an article reviewing the original Golden Bridge exhibition, written by Melanie King. It is reproduced here with the author’s kind permission:

The Golden Bridge Exhibition

This poignant exhibit on child migration opened at the Heatherbank Museum of Social Work, located on the Campus of the Glasgow Caledonian University, on May 2nd 2001 and will run until June 29th, 2001. Originally, it was only to run for the month of May, but it was extended.

On May 15th and 16th, my husband Don and I visited the Museum. Our first visit, doesn’t really count because we didn’t get to see much of the exhibit. The Scottish Media saw to that. But we did get to see enough to determine that we would be back to view it properly when we could take our time.

When we returned to the Museum the following day and were able to leisurely stroll through the exhibit, the emotional impact of it all was able to sink in. The entire time the exhibit is open the “Living Histories” Video plays.

I don’t know about anyone else, but as soon as hear the video start to play, the music gets me all choked up.

Quarriers, Scotland; Quarriers Canadian Family; Home Children Canada; myself personally; and others donated material to this very worthwhile exhibit. In addition to this donated material, Alastair Ramage, Curator, and his volunteers have also amassed quite a collection of their own.

This material is displayed most effectively. Each display makes you want to go to the next one to find out more. The most popular display of the exhibit is the ‘testimony tree’, where quotes from child migrants are written on maple leaves.

Near the testimony tree is a girl’s trunk containing all the things that she would have brought to Canada with her.

There are a number of fact files on hand for visitors to read as well. One of these is my father’s story. Others are on Fairknowe Home, Teresa Fisher’s story, Perry Snow’s father’s story, and many others.

Before leaving the exhibit on May 16th, we heard some very good news. The Canadian High Commission in London is putting on an exhibition in Edinburgh in October and wants to use the Golden Bridge exhibit as part of it. This exhibit will run for a fortnight, but as of yet, the dates are unknown. This information will be passed on once it is available.

From the time I found out that my father’s story would be included in the exhibit, I knew I had to go. When I was there, I felt like he was right alongside me.

The story of child migration will continue to conjure up many emotions as we reflect on the lives of our forebears.