Friday, 17 August 2012

Historical de la Grande Museum -- Somme battlefield

 Our next stop on our tour for learning about WWI was a visit to the Historical de la Grande Guerre Museum which is located near the Somme battlefields where some of the most intense fighting took place.

The museum is partly attached to a medieval castle


There was a special exhibit b y a German artist Otto Dix who served in the first World War.  After the 1st World War Otto Dix was persecuted by the Nazi's, for creating what they called degenerate art.  Otto Dix along with other artists were forced to join the Nazi government chamber of fine arts where he was to paint only landscapes.  Later in WWII he was forced to serve in the German National militia until he was captured by the French.  After WWII he spent the rest of his life in East Germany painting religious or depictions of post war sufferings.

My children found these pictures the very disturbing, for some reason I like them even the really graphic ones

Lots of exhibits showing what the soldiers wore and had on them from the different militaries.  This is a French soldier, also called a "Poilu".

Cavalry soldier

A British soldier, also called a Tommy.

Various machine guns used during the war.  Machine guns, barbed wire, and the advancement in artillery weaponry led to the carnage of the trenches.

eye prosthetic for a soldier who lost an eye

Some of the WWI items found in the French country side.  What is called "The Iron Harvest" kills people every year in Belgium and France; a hundred years later, the Great War still claims its casualties.

Bullet holes in steel helmets.  The top helmet is German, the bottom is British or French.

Various types of protection.  I was amazed how similar some of this protective gear  was to what I know of medieval protection.

We saw lots of trench art work.  My children were fascinated with this art work

Another special exhibit had pictures and information of men missing in the war.  Many men were blown apart by shells or sank into the mud never to be heard from again.

The kids read about this boy lying about his age to join and then we had a great discussion why some men did that.    
Standing near the River Somme.


  1. That is so sad about the boy lying about his age, even the other soldier looks so young. The trench artwork is really amazing! How does the "Iron Harvest" kill people still? Are there still bombs lying around? Is that a prosthetic nose next to the eye?

    1. Hi Maureen,
      There are still ammunition being found from WWI throughout France and Belgium. Farmers are still finding them in the field and occasionally being killed. they are even still finding gas bombs and they sometimes go off if handled and kill people. We saw loads of signs telling us to stick to the paths live ammo still to be recovered. To learn more goggle "Iron Harvest" and you will find lots of information on it. I will add it to the post for others to look at:)

  2. What a great trip! I love historical museums and living history like that!

    I am starting a new link up called Field Trip Friday to showcase different homeschool field trips. I would love it if you could like this- and any other field trips you've taken.


  3. I read your link to the iron harvest, and wow that is some scary stuff. It's sad that all these years later people are still be harmed by former wars. No wonder there still seem to be many hard feelings between the French and Germans even though most of the people alive today were not directly involved in a conflict.

  4. Sad, but very interesting. My boys would have found this museum fascinating.