Huzza For Freedom! Political Cartoons From the War of 1812

2014, History, Ontario Heritage Trust, Temporary Exhibit
cartoons, comics, humour, newspapers, politics, propaganda, war, War of 1812
About This Project

Date: April 2 – September 1, 2014

Partner: Ontario Heritage Trust

Venue: Parliament Interpretive Centre – map

Project Members: Keely Bland, Oriana Duinker, Kristie Nairn, and Hilary Walker


Huzza for Freedom! was curated by Master of Museum Students Keely Bland, Oriana Duinker, Kristie Nairn, and Hilary Walker in partnership with the Ontario Heritage Trust. Hosted by the Parliament Interpretive Centre, this exhibition features 23 reproductions of cartoons: 18 by British and American cartoonists from the period of the war itself and 5 contemporary cartoons by Canadian cartoonists.


The cartoons reflect various themes that contribute to an understanding the political climate during the War of 1812, and explore how both the British and Americans navigated their differing concept of “freedom.”  The interpretive themes show the various ways cartoons contributed to peoples’ understanding of the War.  Cartoons were used as news sources and propaganda pieces, and while they dehumanized and ridiculed enemies, they also critiqued and lampooned their own political leaders.  The modern cartoons included in the exhibition, by notable Canadian cartoonists Graeme MacKay and Kate Beaton, are reflections on how we remember and commemorate the War of 1812 today.


The Ontario Heritage Trust is the province’s lead heritage agency.  It oversees and protects a number of natural and historical sites across Ontario.


The Parliament Interpretive Centre is owned and operated by the Ontario Heritage Trust.  It is located at the site of Ontario’s first purpose-built parliament buildings.  It hosts a permanent exhibition entitled Foundations & Fire: Early Parliament and the War of 1812 Experience at York that traces the history of the site through the War of 1812 and beyond.


Huzza for Freedom! will be held at the Parliament Interpretive Centre until September 1, 2014.  The opening reception was held on April 2, 2014, and was well-attended by  staff and students from the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto staff from the Ontario Heritage Trust, and even several local editorial cartoonists (Graeme MacKay of the Hamilton Spectator and Brian Gable of the Globe and Mail)


We would like to thank Dr. Matthew Brower and the faculty of the Master of Museum Studies program for their support, and the Faculty of Information for financially supporting this exhibition.  We would also like to thank our partners from the Ontario Heritage Trust, Sam Wesley, Jennifer Winter, and Beth-Anne Mendes, for all of their help and guidance.  Finally, we would like to thank our classmates in the MMSt program for their continued support throughout this process.