The build-up to the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War continues to grow and so do the associated memorials, museums and interpretation centres in Belgium & France.
In the French Ardennes, the War & Peace Museum is due to re-open on 11th November 2017 after a major renovation.
The museum, which closed its doors in 2008, is located just outside Novion-Porcien. It has been completely renewed with new visitor circuits and plenty of new artifacts. The museum covers the three wars in the Ardennes (1870, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945), and the collection has been enhanced by a large number of gifts and items loaned by French and foreign museums.
It commemorates, among other things, the “House of the Last Cartridge”, in Bazeilles – a village 8 km from Sedan – where commander Lambert’s group of seventy men stood up to 2,300 Prussians in September 1870.
World War I is depicted through the life of German and French troops in the trenches. The soldiers had left home with “flowers in their gun barrels”, but found themselves in a war in which men on both sides dug underground to protect themselves, giving rise to the figure of the French “Poilu” who suffered the rigors of the seasons, shortages and bloody attacks, which in the end led to mutiny.
Weaponry, uniforms, packs and supplies and even details of how the troops entertained themselves during the long war years are all on display in the Museum – along with many other depictions of war, and peace.
The new website has just been launched, but won’t be available in English till June 2018. However the signage & interpretation in the museum will also be in English.