Museum of the Great War - History and Facts | History Hit

Museum of the Great War

Meaux, Ile-de-France, France

The Museum of the Great War guides visitors through the years of the First World War using a vast archive of objects, that are displayed across multimedia exhibitions.

Amy Irvine

22 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Prosopee / CC

About Museum of the Great War

The Museum of the Great War in the city of Meaux, France, is the largest museum in Europe on the First World War, bringing together nearly 70,000 objects, uniforms, devices and military devices displayed across multimedia exhibitions in an impressive contemporary architectural building of nearly 3,000m².

History of the Museum of the Great War

Since opening in 2011, the museum has become known for its vast collection of unique items, weaponry, uniforms, documents, graphic artworks and photographs (originally collected by passionate historian, Jean-Pierre Verney) that are woven together to create a moving and highly educational narrative.

The historical city of Meaux is dotted with landmarks from World War One, partially due to its vital role in the Battle of Marne in 1914, at which time soldiers bravely protected the city gates from attack. It is here you will find a monument dedicated to those who lost their lives helping to prevent the fall of the city.

The Museum of the Great War today

Alongside its changing exhibitions, the museum splits itself into a number of predominant categories, from the role of women in times of conflict to the lives of those in captivity, which allow for a comprehensive view of the years spanning the war. The museum emphasises some of the key issues facing countries at the time, such as the need for a superior military strategy and the importance of new technologies, as well as the need to maintain morale on the home front.

Within the Museum of the Great War, there is a carefully crafted reconstruction of a French and German battlefield, including a trench and No Man’s Land. The visuals and audio used throughout the exhibitions create a powerful ambience, which helps to convey the terrible suffering of war from the perspective of all who lived and fought during this period.

By combining informative used items from the time with intimate photographs and short films, the Museum of the Great War is unique in its representation of the world’s first notably widespread conflict.

Getting to the Museum of the Great War

The museum is located approximately 31 miles east of Paris – just 30 minutes by train from Gare de l’Est via Line P: Direction Meaux or Direction Chateau-Thierry with a stop in Meaux. The museum is then 10 minutes from Meaux train station via bus lines G, 10 (Musée de la Grande Guerre stop), 11, 63 and 65 (Hauts de Chantereine stop in front of the Museum).

By car, the journey from Paris takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes via the A4 motorway – follow Meaux RN3 direction Meaux then Soissons. Free parking is available.

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