The Historial of Peronne. Source : Licence Creative Commons. Libre de droit
The historial of Peronne
In the middle of the 1980's the General Council of Somme began thinking of a project, which would lead, thanks to European, national, regional (Picardie) and departmental funds, to the creation of an international museum of the Great War (and not only dedicated to the battle of Somme). It was decided that it would be constructed in Péronne, which once was the frontline eastwards of the department. It is an amazing white building, closely related to the medieval site of Peronne (designed by the architecture Ciriani); here the very famous "meeting" between Louis XI, king of France and Charles Téméraire, duke of Bourgogne, took place in 1468.
When it opened on August 1st 1992, the Historial of the Great War uncovered a unique collection of original objects of the every day life of that time. The weapons and military gear, ordered chronologically, are displayed in the centre of the rooms, while in the glass cases along the walls, objects of the civil life and of the families (these objects evoke the cultural, artistic, educative, economic or financial aspects of society at that time) are displayed. These objects come from the three different belligerent empires and this makes the Historial, a museum of international scale.
Quite as contemporary as the architecture, the imagination of the museum stimulates the comprehension and emotions of the war: the uniforms, for example are laid out horizontally in "pits". Thus, without having recourse to the dangerous spirit of reconstitution, this proximity to the object also becomes a proximity to the event.
Like St Quentin, this city also faced German occupation from August 28th 1914. The battle of Marne and of Somme lead to the coming and going of the occupying forces. Bombarded in 1916 and 1918, the city is no more then a ruin, which was released on September 1918 by the Australian 2nd division. The Flag of this division streams in the town hall and the Australian Memorial of Mont St Quentin on the major road 17, seams to protect the hill. The ancient village constituted a strategic observation point. It was also very difficult to reach, because of the trenches and barbed wire network. A moving memorial paying tribute to the victims of the town is situated at the end of the rampart road: it portrays a woman kneeling over a body of a dying resistance fighter (a poilu), holding up her fist evocating anger and rage. This piece is the work of Paul Auban.
In brief... The Historial of the Great War in Péronne is a trilingual museum of international renown, housed in a modern building, which is an extension of the medieval chateau. Its purpose is to enlighten visitors on the historical, sociological and ethnological aspects of the First World War. It illustrates everyday life during the war through the experiences of those who lived through it and brings an interactive dimension to the conflict. 56 films from the period are shown along with the collections of objects, works of art, documents, letters and postcards. Uniforms of the various servicemen are displayed amongst weaponry and personal objects, as well as a collection of 50 etchings by the great German expressionist painter, Otto Dix. Documentation centre, educational department, international research centre, shop and cafeteria. "Tourism for the disabled" approved.
Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm (except Mondays between the 1st of November and the 31st of March).
Closed from mid-December until mid-January.
Historial of the Great War
Château de Péronne BP 63 - 80201 Péronne cedex
Phonenumber : 03 22 83 14 18 - Fax : 03 22 83 54 18
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
By reservation it is possible to take guided tours of the Historial and the main sites of the Somme battle.
Open every day (except from Monday), from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Closed every year from mid-December to mid-January.
The Documentation Centre provides more then 2,300 works and 70 hours of visual material; the international Research Centre aims to promote university research on the First World War.
The Historial also has at its disposal an important Educational Outreach Department composed of a multidisciplinary team of educators.
The Bookstore presents and sells the principal publications of the Great War.
Place André Audinot 80200
03 22 83 14 18
Adultes : 7,50€ Jeunes (6 à 18 ans), anciens combattants, enseignants, étudiants, demandeurs d'emploi : 3,80 € Plus de 60 ans : 6,20 € Famille (2 adultes et 2 enfants maximum) : 20 € Enfants jusqu'à 6 ans, membres ICOM, association des conservateurs, journalistes, membres de l'association 'Les Amis de l'Historial' : Gratuit Passeport culturel lycées (Picardie) : 3,20 €
Ouvert tous les jours de 10h à 18h
De la mi-décembre à la mi- janvier.