Sunday, February 2, 2014

Australian War Memorial: treasures from a century of collecting

One of the most moving events I have experienced was at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. It was evening and we were standing, with small candle-like torches, looking over the Pool of Reflection as the Last Post was played. It was obvious that this is a very special place.

The Australian War Memorial was opened to the public on 11 November 1941 but collecting items for the museum had been a project for much of the century. This 600+ page work by Nola Anderson celebrates the development of the collection for the Australian War Memorial. The War Memorial has displays relating to all wars and peace keeping operations in which Australians have been involved. The biggest collections, of course, relate to the First World War and the Second World War however the first military excursions include the Crimean War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Boer War. Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East and Timor are other operations covered. The Australian War Memorial uses photographs, art works, documents and artefacts (all sizes) to tell the stories of Australians in war zones. Much of the story is told using photographs of collection items to explain the involvement of Australians in world conflicts. It serves as a tribute to the men and women who have served their country when it was required.

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