Historial de la Grande Guerre - Péronne - France

Address: Château de Péronne, Péronne (See map)
Telephone: +33 (0)32 2831418
Website: http://www.historial.org

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: refreshments
Size of the museum/site: medium
Year of visit: 2006
Overall rating:

Description: Although the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Peronne is the unofficially crowned king of WW1 museums in France, it doesn't quite live up to the expectations. The location of the museum -the historic fortress in the town centre- is impressing enough, but the exhibits aren't as thrilling as you'd expect. After you've paid the exaggerated entrance fee you'll be somewhat let down with the lack of dioramas and the movie feature, which' audio-system doesn't quite work out (the original French audio will over stem the puny sound of the English audio-guide you're handed).

So if you're on a WWI-battlefields-coach trip heading towards Peronne, make sure you bombard the driver with enough lager cans, sharp objects and personal belongings until he steers in the direction of the (musée vivant 1914-1918) or the (Somme 1916 Trench Museum), which are much better museums! Have a quick butcher's in the Historial if you've got enough time to spare.

The Historial's collection comprises of maps, posters, uniforms and firearms mostly. Highlights are the display of medical devices used during the Great War and the displays dealing with the standard outfits of British, French and German infantry units that were sent to war (see photos below). The museum's shop is great but in no means makes up for the lacklustre exhibition.

One of the many propaganda posters which are on display in this museum.

Map of Europe showing the material strength of the parties that went to war in 1914.

Outfit and equipment of the French Poilu (French infantryman).

To compare: outfit and equipment of a German infantryman.

Several medical items and tools. Note that during WWI the first, more sophisticated false limbs were developed.

A collection of machineguns and mortars.