Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Jewish Museum documents garment trade

  • Print
The story of Western Glove Works, among others, is told in the exhibit A Stitch in Time! Winnipeg Jews & the Garment Industry, now showing at the Marion & Ed Vickar Jewish Museum of Western Canada at the Asper Jewish Community Campus.

MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS PHOTO ARCHIVE Enlarge Image

The story of Western Glove Works, among others, is told in the exhibit A Stitch in Time! Winnipeg Jews & the Garment Industry, now showing at the Marion & Ed Vickar Jewish Museum of Western Canada at the Asper Jewish Community Campus. Photo Store Photo Store

While its physical space may have been downsized in 2009, the staff at the Marion & Ed Vickar Jewish Museum of Western Canada haven’t shrunk their ambitions.

In the works for five years, the exhibition A Stitch in Time! Winnipeg Jews & the Garment Industry finally opened this week at the Asper Jewish Community Campus.

The show explores the Jewish presence and influence on Winnipeg’s "schmatta" industry — still visible today in the likes of Raber Glove Manufacturing, Co. Ltd., Mitchell Fabrics, Richlu Manufacturing and Sportswear, Western Glove Works and Silver Jeans Co.

What it amounts to is not merely a classic immigrant story but how the industry has been a large part of that story for successive waves of newcomers and their families to Canada.

"It’s a multicultural industry," says Ilana Abrams, the museum’s general manager, noting that the city’s Filipino community is now a defining presence in the business.

Permanent displays have been removed for the show, which has taken up the entirety of the museum’s present space adjacent to the Berney Theatre.

So large is the array of collected materials that the museum initially conceived of doing the exhibition as a "huge" event off-site, Abrams says.

The exhibition is open to the public at the museum, an arm of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada Inc., until May.

The story of the local industry was also detailed in the 2010 documentary From Rags to Richlu, the story of local apparel industry pioneer Abe Rich, co-founder of Richlu.

Directed by Beth Azore, who studied film at New York University and worked alongside Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11), the doc was included in the Manitoba Documentary Shorts Program, part of Gimme Some Truth: The Winnipeg Documentary Project 2010, featuring short docs commissioned by MTS Winnipeg Video on Demand.

A Stitch in Time combines photographs and archival materials — including advertisements from the Israelite Press and Jewish Post — and also makes use of actual clothing, materials and tools from some of the major manufacturers and suppliers.

The exhibition is really a microcosm of the museum’s much more enormous ongoing project, which is the digitization and hence more-or-less permanent preservation of the Jewish community’s archives.

Some of those editions of the Israelite Press and Jewish Post are over a century old, Abrams points out: "They crumble when touched."

It makes the museum’s task a delicate, but no less necessary one where the demands of the historical record are concerned.

Kenton Smith is a community correspondent for Tuxedo.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

The forecast says we're going to get a blast of warm weather, but we all know what's coming. Are you ready?

View Results