Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Historial Peronne


Mark Hone
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am planning my 1918 90th anniversary tour for October next year. One day will follow the 'Kaiser's Battle', the other the breaking of the Hindenburg Line. I was planning to visit the museum/cafe at Essigny-Le-Grand, near St Quentin, only to discover from Paul Reed that it's closed. I'm now thinking of using Peronne as the lunch stop. What are Pals' views on the Historial? I have to confess that I've never been. Like IFF (which I'm not a big fan of) it seems to get mixed reviews, although a non-Historian colleague at school who has visited said she was quite impressed. I shall be with 40 boys and five members of staff. As I say, the focus of the tour will be 1918, not the 1916 Battle of the Somme.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are into the Great War and have not been to the Historial then the simple answer is that you must see it. The Historial is more of the new school of museums compared to La Musee des Abris, Hooge etc but nothing like IFF in that respect and no 'peace' agenda. There is no special focus on 1916, plenty on the build up to war and the aftermath. There is still plenty of 'hardware' to see too.

It is slightly clinical in look but the quality of the exhibits and layout is excellent with much to absorb, lots of rare footage and a cinema that shows a superb little film narrated by Harry Fellows. The Otto Dix gallery is remarkable and there are often temporary seperate exhibitions well worth seeing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As you will have realised some like it and some hate it. None the less it is well worth a visit. As someone has already said the Dix display is truly profound.

If you expect a detailed walk through the war, you will be disappointed. The historial concentrates more upon the social aspects of the war and I am always fascinated by the exhibits towards the end of the walk around the museum where there is much material relating to the end of the war, commercially produced "souvenirs" and items of remembrance.

As befits a lunch stop it has good toilets; you can sit outside beside the lake and there is a good shop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark, I can't imagine why any of Us wouldn't enjoy it. If you start in the Dix drawings, the marrow will be suitably chilled before going on to the displays. I thought they were also really chilling, many set into the floor in an evocative way. But lots and lots of material and many little film spots where videos constantly run, so plenty to occupy. As said above, good shop, easy parking, and nice town close for stroll. Usually there's a special expo and the conjunction of new structure in mediaeval remains is super. They have a busy education department, and I'm sure they'd do you some sort of lecture / display / tour about 1918

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,

The Historial is a wonderful museum for studious adults. Even the building is fantastic. There are good seats outside, the book shop is good and Péronne is easily the best place in the area to walk around in.

If the museum has lectures, all the better.

There are always special exhibitions.

Divide the groups so that they will not be together for all of the time and have your colleagues say something about the exhibits and have your groups ask questions.

Enjoy !

Cheers,

Fred

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it is definately worth a visit. the special exhibition is animals at war. excellent.

Mick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put off visiting it for many years , as I did with other museums in France/Belgium (gave me a reason to go back :lol: as if I needed one ) The Historial in Peronne is Excellent and well worth a visit. Its everything that Flanders Fields in Wipers isn't (Imho) "MO"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Such a spacious, modern museum in an ancient building. Well worth a visit. One Frenchman I met told me although it was good he preferred the Albert museum as the Peronne exhibits "look too new" while the Albert ones are old or rusty and used! Although I like the "rusty used" look, I liked the fact they looked "new" as it enables us to envisage what they were like at the time to the men that used them. Can't wait to visit it again and take more pics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be prepared to bet good money that you will think the visit worthwhile, Mark.

The Historial is more IWM North than IWM Lambeth, in my opinion, but it's excellent nevertheless!

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, folks you've sold it to me. I am in touch with the museum and will arrange a group visit. Thanks again for your assistance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Mark,

How did you visit the museum. with your pupils divided into groups?

What did they think of it?

What is your opinion?

Was there anything of particular intrest to your pupils?

All the best,

Fred

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fred-you're a bit previous, as we say in Birmingham! We haven't been yet. Our annual school battlefields tour is in October half-term. In 2007 we went to Ieper and visited the battlefields of Messines and Passchendaele. We shall be visiting Peronne as part of our 2008 'Forgotten Victory' tour , from 24th-26th October. I shall let you know how we get on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,

I have written the dates in my diary so that I can ask you the same questions after your return.

By the way, can you explain the title of your tour "Forgotten Victory" ?

All the best,

Fred

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The inspiration is partly from Gary Sheffield's book of the same name. The Western Front Association is also running a seminar on 1918 next year with that title. However, for a long time I have been amongst those who think that 1918 is the shamefully neglected year of the Great War. It usually gets dismissed in a paragraph in school History textbooks, after much focus on the Somme, trench deadlock etc., to the point where I have been asked by perfectly intelligent adults 'How on earth did we end up on the winning side in the First World War?'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Mark,

What was your opinion of the Historial?

Did your pupils find anything of interest and if so, what was it?

Cheers,

Fred

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...