Château de Péronne - home of the Museum of the Great War (Photo courtesy of Historial de la Grande Guerre)

Somme Centenary - 2016 cultural programme at Péronne WW1 museum

Posted on on 21 March 2016
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Conferences focussing on the German occupation of the Somme and France's 'almost forgotten' role in the 1916 offensive feature in a centenary cultural programme organised by the Museum of the Great War, Péronne.

The stories of the many poets and writers who served on the Somme will also be highlighted at a special exhibition, opening in June.

Lectures and conferences with visiting speakers will be in French.

But two events taking place at Thiepval - a poetry reading on September 17th and a guided tour of the newly-extended visitor centre on November 11th* - will be in English and French.

Outline of events

*Life behind the German lines in Péronne itself was chronicled by a young magistrate, Pierre Marcelet - the journal he kept will be the subject for the next lecture on April 2nd.

*The French Army's role in the British-led attack on the Somme in July 1916 will be considered on May 21st. The speaker is Commandant Michaël Bourlet, head of military history at the French military academies Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan.

The offensive had originally been planned as a joint operation with the British, but the demands of defending Verdun forced a reduction in the French presence.

Tribute on the Cross of Sacrifice to British & French troops buried together at Thiepval (Photo: Centenary News)

*On the eve of the July 1st Centenary, the impact of the 'twin' battles of the Somme and Verdun will be the theme addressed by Professor Jay Winter, Editor of the Cambridge History of the First World War.  

*The many poets and writers whose lives were shaped by their experiences on the Somme will be remembered in 'Ecrivains en Guerre 1914-18'  - a new exhibition opening on June 28th.

There's an opportunity to join the curator for a guided tour on July 1st.

*A new 400-square metre museum will be opened as an extension of the Thiepval Memorial Visitor Centre in the run-up to the Centenary, on June 1st.

Situated on the approach to Sir Edwin Lutyens' towering memorial to the missing of the Somme, the visitor centre has been managed by Historial de la Grande Guerre (Museum of the Great War) in Péronne since 2004. It receives over 200,000 visitors each year, the majority of whom are British.

Exhibits will include artist Joe Sacco's vast mural depicting the disastrous opening day of the Battle of the Somme. 

For details of the Centenary Cultural Programme, visit  the Historial de la Grande Guerre website.

Information & images of Château de Peronne supplied by Historial de la Grande Guerre/Museum of the Great War, Péronne

Posted by: CN Editorial Team