First World War exhibition at the National Army Museum

National Army Museum announces First World War Centenary plans

Posted on on 13 August 2013
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Britain's National Army Museum has announced its four-year plan to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

The nationwide plans will commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the conflict through exhibitions, permanent displays, partnerships and public events at Regimental and regional museums.

The Museum's plans will focus on three key stages over the period:

- The Outbreak of War and Mobilisation (2014-15)

- The Experience of War (2016-17)

- The Memory of War (2018)

The stages will "highlight the personal and professional experiences of the men and women of the British Army and soldiers of the Empire and Commonwealth who came from across the world to fight together".

The National Army Museum's Outreach and Learning teams will travel across Britain during the Centenary, offering learning programmes and resources to support commemorative activities.

The teams will also take part in national commemorative events, as well as support the National Theatre's touring production of War Horse as it travels the country.

Plans to mark the Centenary form part of the National Army Museum's Building for the Future project, which will see the "radical transformation of the Museum building as well as an extensive programme of community projects, nationwide tours and travelling exhibits, together with Regimental Museum collaborations, loans and expert support".

Janice Murray, Director General of the National Army Museum, said that the Centenary was an "opportunity for the nation to reflect and recognise this seminal moment in British history".

The Director General highlighted that original artefacts from the Museum's collection would be utilised to support the programme of activities over the period, which will "tell the courageous and crushing stories of soldiers and their loved ones".

The Outbreak of War (2014-15)

Regimental Museum Partnerships

The National Army Museum will be working with its Regimental and Corps partners to produce six temporary exhibitions.

The exhibitions will explore the early period of the conflict and how the British Army prepared and mobilised, including details of its global recruitment process.

The National Army Museum's First World War Collection will provide artefacts from the period including uniforms, propaganda posters, weapons, letters and photographs for the exhibitions.

Regimental Museums' Collections will also contribute to the exhibitions, in an effort to "tell a world war story with personal and local elements".

The exhibition will be hosted in six locations around Britain, including in Wales, South West England and the North East of England.

Folkestone in Focus

Working with the Step Short project and Folkestone Town Council, the National Army Museum will produce an exhibition on the raising of 'Kitchener's Army' in 1914-15.

The exhibition will also focus on the role of Folkestone as a major embarkation point for troops heading for the battlefields of Europe and the impact of the conflict on local communities.

The Experience of War (2016-17)

Permanent Displays

In 2016 a new range of displays and galleries will be made available to the public.

Previously unseen objects and archives from the National Army Museum's Collection will "tell the story" of the conflict. This however is subject to the Building for the Future funding application.

Public Events

A series of public events aims to reach out to "visitors of all ages to explore the human experiences of soldiers during the war".

The Memory of War (2018)

Special Exhibition

A "major retrospective exhibition" is planned as the Centenary draws to a close, which will explore the long-term effects of the conflict on Britain and its colonies and how the war has been remembered and memorialised since 1918.

The Centenary Period

Stories from the Archives

A "rolling programme" of personal stories relating to each UK county's role in the war will be developed, based on the National Army Museum's archives and photographs and other local sources.

Collections Online

A digitisation programme aims to improve access to the Museum's archive and collections, with tens of thousands of service records and archives relating to disbanded British and Irish regiments being made available.

Plans are also underway to make available the Museum's collection of Soldiers' Effects records from the First World War online.


The Museum is collaborating in the production of two publications: Posters of the First World War by David Bownes and Wives and Sweethearts: Love on the Frontline by Dr. Alastair Massie.

Collections Loans

The National Army Museum will be undertaking a large scale loan programme, offering a number of items from its Study Collection to organisations marking the Centenary.

Source: National Army Museum press release

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News