Being a museum of reference, our Somme 1916 Museum is located inside a tunnel that dates back to the 13th century, rehabilitated into an air-raid shelter in 1938.
The museum opened its doors on the 1st of July 1992 following repairs and rehabilitation, and it’s at 10m below ground, after having descended the 62 steps into a 250m long gallery, that you may discover the life of our soldiers in the trenches during the 1st of July 1916 offensive.
With an exceptionally rich collection, you will discover our display cases presenting various objects, material and weapons used in that period. The display cases also allow for better understanding of evolution in weaponry and the appearance of new technologies such as gas and tanks… 15 scenes displaying the trenches allow for a very grasping reality, to understand the lives of the French, British and German soldiers during World War I, by different scenes such as :
* The sufferance the wounded would have endured represented in the First Aid Post scene.
* The cold, the mud and the rats represented in the winter scene.
*At rest, apart from briefings and training, distractions were numerous. Letter writing, society games, trench art confection etc…
In the museum, the only thing that would be missing would be being able to give a voice to each of the mannequins to allow you to relive and understand the harsh reality lived through this conflict, and that this period in history has forever marked our region.
The visit ends in a corridor where a light and sound display will make imagine what a night under bombings would have been like. Then you will reach our souvenir gift shop, which you will find a large variety of poppy food products, tableware, museum souvenir objects, and books in French and English as well asmilitaria collections…
A new exhibition hall named the Gallery of Heroes, is presented in fun way, the lives of nine outstanding soldiers which had distinguished themselves during that period !
Gallery of Heroes
The old souvenir shop of 48m² has been transformed in the « Gallery of heroes » dedicated to nine heroes who had distinguished themselves during the Great War. A result of our latest research
- MAX PECHSTEIN
German expressionist artist/painter who fought in the Somme in 1916.
- PERCY HERBERT CHERRY
Australian Officer who fought in the Somme at Pozieres.
- JOHN MC CRAE
Poet, Canadian doctor, he is the author of “Flanders Fields”.
- LUCIEN LABY
French doctor, who kept a war diary.
- SADI LECOINTE
French aviation pioneer with numerous records.
- MARCELLE SEMMER
French nurse, brave and bold.
- GEORGES BUTTERWORTH
Compositor, musical critic and English collector.
- BERTHE MOUCHETTE
French painter and art teacher, she participated to many reconstruction actions in the Somme.
- PAUL HANNECART
French soldier (The poilu – hairy ones)
Come and discover their full stories in this highly referred to area of our museum!
This highly educational and fun area will captivate and give visitors aninterest for History.