PENHOLD, Alta. — A theatre curtain that was "once the pride of Penhold, Alberta," according to the Canadian War Museum, will go on display Thursday in this central Alberta town after extensive restoration.
The drop curtain, measuring 6.3 metres by 3.7 metres, was commissioned in 1920 as the centrepiece of Penhold's Memorial Hall community centre, which was built to honour those who had served in the First World War.
The hand-painted front depicts a scene of bombed ruins associated with the 1916 Battle of the Somme, where many soldiers from the Penhold area died, were wounded or went missing, the war museum says.
The back is covered with names, jokes and other inscriptions left by members of theatrical and musical productions that performed in Memorial Hall.
In 2006, Penhold town council donated the badly damaged curtain, placed in storage in the 1960s, to the Ottawa museum, which is returning it for display for six months at Penhold's Multiplex arena facility. Local businessman Stewart Ford funded the restoration.
"The Penhold curtain is a rare artifact that embodies both the sacrifice of Canadians who served in the First World War and the cultural life of Alberta towns in the years following the war," said war museum president Mark O'Neill.
Penhold is about 15 kilometres south of Red Deer.