Remembering my Great-Grandfather, and the Battle of Vimy Ridge


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100 years ago today, my great-grandfather, Russell Emerson Poste, joined 100,000 other Canadians in capturing Vimy Ridge.

Early in the morning on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, the Battle of Vimy Ridge began. For the first time in the First World War, all four Canadian divisions fought on the same battlefield. They progressed quickly, and by April 12, the entire ridge was under Allied control. With the capture of Hill 145, the highest feature on the ridge, the operation was considered a resounding success. The ridge remained in Allied hands for the duration of the war. The victory at Vimy Ridge did not come without cost: Canadian casualties reached 10,602, of which 3,598 were killed.


Russell Emerson Poste had enlisted in the 18th Western Ontario Battalion when he was only 17 years old. He fought in the trenches alongside his brothers, Ernest and Arthur. Unlike so many, all three came out of the battle unscathed. Afterwards, my great-grandfather was there when His Majesty King George V came to speak to the troops and commend them for the great victory they had achieved at Vimy Ridge.

Russell and his brothers continued in the fight,  only to be seriously wounded and gassed at Passchendaele. Unlike so many others though, they made it back home to Canada. My great-grandfather married Edith Poste in 1920, and they went on to have 11 children (including my fabulous grandmother Mary). Russell’s wartime service must have made an impression, for his four oldest sons would go on to serve in the Second World War.

100 years on from the beginning of this iconic Canadian battle, today is a day to reflect and remember the Canadians who served, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice from their country. And to them, I say thank you.


That’s a Wrap – My past 8 months as an MMC


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Over the past 8 months, I have been completing a Museum Management and Curatorship (MMC) post-grad at Fleming College. The MMC program is an intensive, fast-paced, hands-on immersion experience that provides applied training for students seeking careers in the museum, gallery or heritage sectors.

And boy, have the last 8 months been busy! I thought I’d do a wrap-up by taking a brief look at all the events, projects and other things I’ve been up to this year.

First Term:

During our first term, we got to work on some really cool hands-on projects. In October, our class headed down to Scugog Shores Museum, where we undertook a collections cleaning and inventory project for the artifacts on display at their living history site. We also got to work with community partner the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters by developing policies for the OFAH Heritage Centre. My group wrote a new conservation policy for them, highlighting some of the challenges of having natural history and taxidermy collections.

In December, our class curated individual mini-exhibits, centred around artifacts from the Peterborough Museum and Archives’ collection. To find out more about our mini exhibit projects, check out an earlier blog post here.

I also attended some great events in first term, both for professional development, and to meet some fabulous people while learning more about my chosen field. Here are a few:

Active History Conference

The New Direction in Active History Conference was held at Huron University College over October 2-4. I volunteered at the conference, helping with the registration table and setting up the Poster Session. is a website that connects the work of historians with the wider public. A NCPH mini-con, the conference offered the opportunity for public historians to share their research and projects with one another.

Ontario Museums Association Conference

I attended the Ontario Museum Association’s Conference, hosted in Windsor from November 4 to 6. At this conference, I was able to listen in on new trends and projects in the Museum world. My favourite sessions fell on the second day of the conference. Since I love collections management, I really enjoyed the session on storage reorganization, and the RE-ORG initiative. My other favourite session was “Take Control of Your Career,” hosted by Christine Moreland and Jenna Rose. They gave really good advice on branding yourself, and gave good practical tips about different career approaches, like consulting.

I can’t wait to attend next year’s conference, being held in Peel!


Amber Mandich and Lindsay Kernohan at the Ontario Museums Association Conference, 2015

YDAMA Collections Management Workshop

In late November, I attended a collections management workshop hosted by the York-Durham Association of Museum & Archives. It was held at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum in Gormley, ON. The workshop had a number of great speakers present, including Tom Reitz from Waterloo Region Museum, John Summers from Halton, Sarah Ferencz from the Whitby Public Library and Alex Avdichuk from the City of Toronto. Topics discussed included institutional overlap in collections, collection development plans, and deaccessioning.

Second Term:

We tackled a lot of interesting projects in our second term. Our first major collections management project was to create a Collections Development Plan for the Peterborough Museum & Archives. This involved choosing a component of the collection (I did ship models!), researching what an ideal collection would be, analyzing the existing collection, and making recommendations for the future. We also had an amazing opportunity to partner with the Nova Scotia Museum Association to work on their Nova Muse project. Nova Muse is the association’s new collective access database that helps standardize how museums across the province store information about their collections. Our class was able to log in remotely to clean and enrich the data for various Nova Scotia museums.

We also did some amazing community engagement events. On February 21st, we headed down to George St. United Church in Peterborough to chat with members of the congregation and collect oral histories about their memories of the church and their favourite buildings and architecture in Peterborough. These oral histories were transcribed and some were later including in our exhibit “Building Identity: Discovering Peterborough’s History.”

We also hosted a fun Murder Mystery program in April at the museum called “Who Killed the Curator: A Murder Mystery at the PMA.” We had a great turn out, and the detectives from the public came together to solve the crime! Spoiler alert: It was the donor. But don’t fret – no actual curators were harmed in the making of the event.


The Fleming program is great at providing its students with professional development opportunities. In March we completed a webinar on Risk Management, hosted by the Canadian Conservation Institute. The webinar focused on risk-based decision making for museums, galleries, archives & historic houses. Later in April, we got to visit Research Casting International in Trenton. RCI mounts and casts fossils for museums all over the world. To see their work in person was honestly breath taking. So many dinosaurs!

Outside of school, I’ve had lots of other great stuff going on! In addition to my regular schoolwork at Fleming, I took an extra course online from the University of Leicester. It was a MOOC called “Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century museum.” I blogged about it earlier here. In February, I attended the London Heritage Fair, and completed an ACO NextGen job shadow in the curatorial department of Guelph Civic Museum. In March the ACO London Region branch hosted a NextGen history & heritage event at Grosvenor Lodge, for the younger heritage professionals in London area. Also in March, the Emerging Museum Professional Advisory Council (EMPAC) from the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) reached out to the wider emerging museum professional community to get input on the issues that are important in our field right now, and where the group should go in the future. I participated in one of the web sessions, and we had a great discussion, with topics including mentorships, professional development and having regional representatives. I’m excited to see where #GOEMP goes next!

In March I also found out I was chosen to be the newest member of London’s Historic Sites Committee, based out of the London Public Library Board. The Historic Sites Committee identifies and marks historic buildings, places and people of local significance. Check them out here.  I’m really excited to join this team and help teach Londoners about their city’s history!

My year at Fleming wrapped up with the installation and opening of our class’s exhibit “Building Identity: Discovering Peterborough’s Architecture.” Every exhibit starts with a big idea, and ours was basically that Peterborough’s architecture reflected the area’s changing identities over time. And our exhibit sought to tell this story. The city grew and was shaped by industry. Once developed as a town, prominent architects designed buildings to suit personal motivations and ideals. Under changing ideals of progress after WWII, many heritage buildings were lost. Now, with a new appreciation for preservation, heritage buildings are increasingly being adapted, reused and saved.

I wrote the script (aka the panels, the object labels, the photo credits, and any other words you can think of) for the Styles & Architects section of the exhibit. Everyone joined together for the actual exhibit installation. While completing an entire exhibit was a lot of hard work, it was great to see it all come together. We were even featured in the Peterborough Examiner! We had a soft launch on April 3, and had the formal opening and reception on April 21st. The exhibit will be on display at the Peterborough Museum & Archive until June 19th.

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Photograph of Elizabeth Evans and Lindsay Kernohan installing Building Identity, from Peterborough Examiner, April 1 2016

Looking forwards in the future: starting an internship at The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, and an amazing time being back in my hometown of London!


Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum


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Over the past six weeks, I have been participating in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) offered from the Museum Studies Department at the University of Leicester, done in partnership with National Museums Liverpool. The University of Leicester is known to have one of the best Museum Studies programs worldwide, so as someone based in Canada, I was very excited to be able to participate in a course offered by them.

The MOOC, hosted by, was a six week experience diving into the ideas, concepts and theories surrounding what a 21st Century museum should be, and what museums of the future will look like.

In the first week, we looked at building a 21st Century museum, by examining the case study of the new Museum of Liverpool, which opened in 2011. We discussed the importance of working with your community, and engaging the stories and histories of your visitors. In our second week, we examined our visitors a little bit closer. Who visits museums? Why don’t some people visit museums? What are some barriers that prevent people from accessing or feeling welcome in a museum? We also studied the ‘Kids in Museums’ movement, and a number of the learners discussed how museums can balance their two primary responsibilities – conserving the past, yet making it accessible to the public.

In the third week, we looked at how museums and emotions work together, and in the fourth week, we looked at how museums can impact current human rights issues.  These two weeks were tied as my favourite, because they addressed topics closest to my own area of study – namely, the impact that museums can have on social memory. In these weeks, we examined a number of case studies from exhibitions where emotions played a key part. Topics included death, child abuse, slavery, child migration, as well as forms of discrimination including racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism. These exhibits were purposely meant to play on the visitors’ emotions and to stimulate a response from them. In some cases, the visitor is simply meant to reflect on the material presented. In others, the museum is actively trying to be a force for good, combating the social ills of the day. The main question that many learners discussed these weeks was: what is the role of the museum? Should it be a neutral player, presenting information with as little bias as possible? Or should the museum take a stance, showing visitors why and how they can make a difference? What is the museums’ responsibility?

In week five, we discussed how museums can contribute to well-being. Multiple studies have found that visiting museums make you happier! Check out this 2014 Article if you don’t believe me. But museums’ impacts can go deeper than that. The case studies we looked at included museums working to improve mental health, lower smoking rates, and stimulating memories in people with dementia.

In the final week of the course, we looked at the two biggest assets that museums have: objects (aka their collections) and people (staff, volunteers, the public). No museum can be successful without these two things! We also discussed what the museum of the future will look like. Will it be filled with amazing technology? Will it be completely unrecognizable from the museums we know today? We can’t predict the future, but either way, I’m excited to see.

A nice thing about FutureLearn is they give you an option at the end of your course to get a certificate showing your participation. For all other emerging museum professionals, it makes for a nice CV or portfolio addition! Here’s my digital Statement of Participation.

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Overall, I would heartily recommend this MOOC to anyone interested in the museum field. As some may know, I am currently completing the Museum Management and Curatorship Program at Fleming College (located in Ontario, Canada.) It is a very fast-paced, hands-on learning based program, so I found that this MOOC, with a emphasis on theory and case studies, nicely complemented the studies I am doing in class.

If you want to check out the MOOC, here’s a link:

There’s nothing more fun than learning something new.

MMC Mini-Exhibit Open House


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The MMC Program’s Mini-Exhibit Open House is now open! It is running today (December 16th) and tomorrow (December 17th) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The students in the Museum Management and Curatorship Program at Fleming curated these mini-exhibits. They feature artifacts from the Peterborough Museum and Archives’ Collection. 20151215_114128

MMC Mini Exhibit Open House

MMC Mini Exhibit Open House

My mini-exhibit, Onwards to Canada, features a Barnardo Children’s Trunk. In 1923, it was given to a Barnardo Home Child, Lottie Helen Heald, when she was sent to Canada. She was 13 years old.

Onwards to Canada

Onwards to Canada

The panel features information about Dr. Barnardo, the Home Child Emigration Movement, the trunks the home children received, and details about the life of Lottie Helen Heald.

Onwards to Canada Panel © Lindsay Kernohan

Onwards to Canada Panel © Lindsay Kernohan

The trunk is set up to display objects from the time period that would have been packed in the trunk – including a bible, a hymn book, a dress, an apron, towels, and handkerchiefs.

Inside view of Trunk- Set up to show the items that would have been packed in it

Inside view of Trunk, Displaying items that would have been packed in it

This mini-exhibit teaches visitors about the Home Children, and asks them to reflect on the concept of being sent to a brand new country. If you were about to leave home for a strange, new land, what is the one object you would bring with you?

The Author, Lindsay Kernohan, with her mini-exhibit, Onwards to Canada

The Author, Lindsay Kernohan, with her mini-exhibit, Onwards to Canada

Heritage in the City: Four Events in February


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Time certainly flies. As I finish writing this post about all the things that happened in February, it’s already the end of March! For the shortest month of the year, this February was certainly busy.


On Saturday, February 7th, I was lucky enough to be one of 500 people (out of more than 900 registrants) attending HTML500, the largest Learn to Code event in Canada. Organized by Lighthouse Labs, the event was held at the London Convention Centre. Opening speakers included Deb Matthews (MPP for London North Centre) and Matt Brown (Mayor of London, ON) After the opening speeches, we received a lecture on basic html and css led by Lighthouse Lab’s head instructor Khurram Virani and Josh Borts, who apparently has a severe lack of Twitter followers, promoting the hashtag #plzfollowjosh. Other twitter hashtags were #CodeinLdnOnt and #PayitForward

From their website:

“For us, a big part of The HTML500 is having the tech community take the skills they’ve learned and pay it forward to a new group of eager coders. This movement of developers helping each other grow is what empowers our community to do great things!”

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One of the best thing about the event was the diversity. Coding is for everyone, and it showed. 50% of participants across country were women. At the London event, the youngest participant was 7 and the oldest was 70. All participants were instructed to download Brackets beforehand. This free program is specifically designed for writing code – similar to how we use Microsoft word for essays or prose.

Coding like a boss

Coding like a boss

The HTML500 organizers had projects prepared for us to follow through and create our own website pages, allowing us to learn coding along the way. Each table had a mentor to help teach the code, and help with debugging. Immediately afterwards, there was a job fair where participants could show off their newly-developed skills. All together, it was an amazing event and a terrific experience.

ACO Nextgen Job Shadow Program

On February 19th, I participated in ACO Nextgen’s job shadow program that they run for Heritage Week. It provides an opportunity for young, new heritage professionals (like me!) to job shadow established heritage pros and see what a typical day is like in the field. I was paired with the City of London’s Heritage Planning department, shadowing Kyle Gonyou and Don Menard. It was a wonderful and educational day. First, I was given a presentation on heritage planning, and learn all about the process of designating and protecting heritage buildings. Next, I was able to sit in on a Environmental Assessment Meeting with a construction company that will be doing some road work and wanted to ensure the upcoming construction would not affect heritage properties in that area. To prepare for this meeting, Kyle showed me the huge amount of files the city keeps on the various heritage sites in the city – both those that are designated and those that are just listed on the City’s heritage inventory, complied in 2006.

London currently has five Heritage Conservation Districts, with two more under consideration. If a property owner wants to make alterations to a property that is contained within a Heritage District, it must submit a request for a Heritage Alteration Permit. The City will then determine if the requested changes will suit the streetscape and look of the larger heritage district before it is approved. Before the end of my job shadow, we actually got to take a site visit and view a property that had requested a permit. It was very interesting to see the process.

All in all, I had a wonderful day with multiple learning opportunities to take with me as I continue in my career. I want to publicly thank ACO Nextgen for sponsoring the job shadow program, as well as Kyle Gonyou and Don Menard for having me.

London Heritage Awards

Later the same day, were the 8th annual London Heritage Awards. Co-Sponsored by the London Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Heritage London Foundation, the annual awards are an opportunity to celebrate successes within the local heritage community.

From the ACO website:

“This awards program seeks to recognize individuals and organizations from either the private or public sector who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the preservation of London’s built heritage. Nominees may be proposed for their long-term dedication to the cause, for a single outstanding effort that made a notable difference, for strong leadership and vision in educating the public, or for actions that have brought about a positive outcome for built heritage in our City. The awards also seek to honour projects that have actually preserved part of our built heritage.”

As a long-time volunteer at Banting House N.H.S.C, I was particularly proud that the museum was recognized for its restoration project, which you can read more about here:

Grant Maltman receiving the Built Heritage Award on behalf of Banting House

Grant Maltman receiving the Built Heritage Award on behalf of Banting House

It was a great evening, with lots of deserving people and projects winning awards. To view the complete list of winners, check out the ACO’s Heritage Week newsletter here:

London Heritage Fair

On February 21st, the London Public Library hosted the annual London Heritage Fair. This year’s theme was “Honouring Our Veterans.” The day featured staffed booths by over twenty local heritage organizations, and multiple speakers. The keynote presentation was Jonathan F. Vance from Western University, entitled “A Century Ago: The First World War Comes to London.” Though I had to scamper away to work in the afternoon, I was able to help set up Wartime Canada’s booth display, and attend Don Menard’s talk on the City of London’s “Streets of Honour” program. The always-popular event was well attended, and was a fitting tribute to London’s veterans.

Display for Wartime Canada's Booth

Display for Wartime Canada’s Booth

Until next time,


For the Love of Paper


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Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Toronto Area Archivists’ Group’s Fall Workshop: Simple Preservation Treatments for Flat Records. Rose Newlove, a freelance conservator whose work focuses on paper, archival materials and books, led the workshop. Her work focuses largely on preventative conservation rather than restorative work – the goal of this is to stabilize archives to prevent further damage. I attended the workshop with two of my colleagues from the heritage community, Amber Mandich and Alyssa Reynolds. This full-day, hands-on workshop taught basic treatments for the care of archival collections. Various techniques, including surface cleaning, fastener removal, opening of folded and rolled documents, releasing simple creases, and stabilizing tears were covered. The workshop also discussed workstation set up, methods to fully support records, how to keep a record of work done, and various materials and resources. Each participant was given a personalized folder, full of useful information. This includes a list of preservation materials, and where to purchase them, but also “cheat sheet” notes for flattening folded or rolled papers, humidification, and proper cleaning techniques. As the workshop was hands-on, it will be great to have written reminders of all that we learned. After the workshop, Rose also emailed all the participants an extensive list of quality preservation and conservation materials, along with helpful info like cost, size and where to purchase. The workshop started by discussing basic concepts such as preparing your workspace, the proper handling of archival materials, removing fasteners and staples, and writing condition reports.

Rose Newlove demonstrating proper cleaning techniques

Rose Newlove demonstrating proper cleaning techniques (photo from AAO’s Facebook page)

Next we got into cleaning documents. Depending on how dirty your document was, there were a variety of cleaning steps you could try, with each step increasing in aggressiveness. The obvious place to start is to gently brush the item. Then you can try a variety of materials such as Absorene, conservation erasers or a Magic Rub. While I had heard of Magic Rubs before, I had never used them. After this workshop, I can truthfully say that they deserve the name magic – they work amazingly well. The real fun came towards the end of the day. Rose showed us how to use humidification (a scary thing when dealing with documents!) to release creases and flatten folded and rolled documents. It was really interesting to see how a little water in the right place with the right materials could transform a problematic document.

A conservator uses a wide variety of tools in their work

A conservator uses a wide variety of tools in their work

Then we learned how to fix tears. This is a treatment that really requires you to have the proper materials. First you need wheat starch gel, which you can either buy or make yourself. Next you need Kozo tissues – this is a really cool type of thin paper that when torn into strips, has little caterpillar fibers coming out the sides. Your Kozo tissue strip should be a little longer than your tear. Brush some gel on a “pasting surface” – something like frosted glass, formica, etc. Use tweezers to place your strip into the gel, and allow it to soak some up, than carefully place your strip over the tear. Using a small brush, brush out the fibers to the side so they spread out and bind with the paper. Then, use some proper weighting materials to ensure the tear dries flat. And voilà! The tear will be completely fixed. It’s surprisingly simple. All of the participants in the workshop were gifted with Carr-McLean swag bags, and Carr-McLean even donated two raffle prizes! My colleague Amber Mandich won a set of archival-grade storage supplies. Overall, the workshop was a very rewarding experience, with lots of new and interesting tips learned.

Swag from Carr-McLean

Swag from Carr-McLean

A huge thank you to the Toronto Area Archivists’ Group for hosting such a wonderful workshop, and thank you as well to the instructor, Rose Newlove.

I am revamping my blog


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As recent visitors to this site might have noticed, I took a break from blogging while completing my Master’s Thesis. And now, I’ve come back with a new vision and new direction.

Though the blog will remain centred around history, and will frequently have posts about cool stuff going on the history world, it will be less focused on the student experience. The reason for this is simple – I am at a far different stage of my life than who I was when I first came up with the idea for TheHistoryHub. When I first started blogging, it was the beginning of my fourth year in university, and my attention was solely focused on school and more school.

Now, I have completed my Master’s Degree in History, and the future I am looking out to looks remarkably different. I now see that my path is to become a museum and archives professional – and that a PhD isn’t right for where I am in my life right now. While I will likely continue doing my own research (what would I do without constantly having a paper on the go?), it will now be outside the walls of academia. I’m now interested in different questions and different worlds. I’m looking closer inwards – to the local history and built heritage around me.

So while highlights of the old blog will remain, the new direction of the blog will be less about the academic world, and more about mine. There will likely be far more of these “personal posts.” (Since I apparently find myself very interesting).

I hope you guys, my wonderful visitors, will enjoy the change. Any and all feedback is welcome.

As always, keep calm and love history.



Is it ethical to display human remains in museums?


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I was reading this article ( via The Toronto Star, about how the cadavers in the “Bodies Revealed” exhibit may be the corpses of executed Chinese inmates. It got me thinking about the larger question of displaying human remains in museums, and the controversy this raises.

This question was raised in my Museology class last term. Is it ethical or respectful to display human remains? Does context or time elapse matter? Multiple museums around the world have permanent displays of mummies from Ancient Egypt – does the reality that they lived thousand of years ago somehow change our perspective? The obvious issue that goes along with this is consent – while we may feel comfortable using those who willingly donated their bodies, how do we reconcile this desire with the reality that again, when looking at mummies, these were people whose consent was obviously not received, as they died so long ago. Is the difference that these people likely do not have living descendants who are likely to become upset?

As the Star article highlighted, it is not always clear where corpses and parts have been obtained from. This is a particular issue for groups who have been oppressed or had the ownership over their bodies stolen. And once these items are in museums, it can be a difficult process to have the remains returned to the proper owners. Repatriation can be a long and complicated process, particularly when some museums are unwilling to return their stolen treasures.

For me, this question boils down to respect and consent. But what about when these factors are missing? Does the public interest in these exhibits somehow make it okay? Or does the displaying of the human remains in any context greatly add to the history being interpreted?

I cannot help but wonder if this exposure of the “Bodies Revealed” exhibit will have any impact on visitor numbers and reception, or if will change the way even one person thinks about human remains.

Daily Mail Claims DNA used to ID Jack the Ripper


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Anyone interested in Victorian Crime should read this story!

The Daily Mail has claimed that modern-day DNA techniques have been used to identity Jack the Ripper. Long story short, a self-proclaimed “amateur sleuth” named Russell Edwards took possession of a scarf that was supposedly found next to Ripper victim Catherine Eddowes. The scarf in question has a large blood stain on it. Edwards involved genetic expert Dr Jari Louhelainen, who used a vacuuming technique to remove blood from the scarf, and compared these samples to ones donated by the descendants of Catherine Eddowes, and those of Aaron Kosminski – the man who the Daily Mail has now identified as Jack the Ripper.  Kosminski was one of the original suspects in the Ripper case.

Check out the link below for the full story. As I’m a historian, and not a scientist, I can’t really speak to the legitimacy of the scientific tests, but it should be interesting to see how this new claim adds to the debate surrounding the Ripper mystery.

Via the Daily Mail:

Hitler’s Childhood Home being turned into a Holocaust Museum


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How do you guys feel about this?

Gawker Media is reporting that Hitler’s childhood home will be turned into a Holocaust museum. The house in question is an Austrian inn that Hitler was born in, and lived for three years before moving to Passau with his parents. The house has been vacant for three years, and there is hope that turning the home into a museum to honour Holocaust victims will deter neo-nazis from using the house as a pilgrimage site.

For more info on this developing story, check out these links: