Historial Grande Guerre

The Historial of the Great War, two museums :

1) The Historial, Museum of the Great War in Péronne opened in 1992.

A highly respected museum devoted to the history of the First World War, the Historial studies the full cultural, social and military scale of this important chapter of history. The perspectives of the three main European nations at war (France, Germany and Great Britain) interweave through the memories of war experienced from the battle front to behind the lines. The idea of a new museum at the heart of the battlefields was conceived by the Somme Departmental Council who decided to incorporate it into the 13th century castle of Péronne, which had suffered so greatly during the Great War.

While the castle marks the entrance to this symbolic site of WW1 history and culture, the permanent exhibition is installed in the modern part of the museum, designed by Henri-Edouard Ciriani.

The museum has thus been placed at the heart of Péronne, on the banks of the Cam pond, providing visitors with a pleasant, peaceful setting.

In July 2014, in the context of the commemorations of the centenary of the Great War, the Somme Departmental Council unveiled the Garden of the Sixth Continent, a landscape creation by Gilles Clément located on the Cam pond. This symbolic garden represents peace and union and recalls how the Somme was the meeting place for many different nations involved in the war. Visitors are invited to come to the island to plant shrubs and flowers of their choice.

2) The Thiepval’s museum galleries are divided into several focal points that are both independent and complementary.

The Battle of the Somme was the deadliest battle of the First World War; to the British it has become symbolical of the whole conflict.The British suffered their worst day in military history on the first day alone: 20,000 soldiers were killed in the space of just a few hours on 1 July 1916, decimated by German machine-gun fire.

The gallery devoted to the Battle of the Somme opens onto a panoramic mural by illustrator Joe Sacco; it depicts the harrowing day of 1 July 1916, hour after hour. Reproduced onto 60 metres of back-lit glass, it provides a panoramic view of the battlefield, a graphic narrative of military operations.

In the centre of the hall, a vast display pit covered by glass presents collection pieces and archaeological remains of the war. Short videos provide complementary information about the mural: commentary on the scenes presented, historical information, archive footage, and educational animations. At the end of the hall, a Maxim machine gun captured by a British regiment at Thiepval reminds visitors of how heavily the Germans defended this location: Thiepval ridge was an Allied objective of the 1 July 1916; it was not taken until the end of September.

Museum at Péronne:
Château de Péronne, Place André Audinot 80200 Péronne

Museum at Thiepval:
8 rue de l’Ancre 80300 Thiepval

More information.

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