Charles Bean was on a ship returning home from the war in 1919, when he sketched his vision of how an Australian war museum and memorial should look.
He wanted the imposing neo-classical structure to house a national collection and provide a place to understand the experiences of Australians at war and give families a place to grieve. But it would be more than 20 years before Bean’s vision was realised in the form of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Working with digital developer Ortelia Interactive Spaces, the Memorial has now brought Bean’s original sketch to life as part of a three-dimensional online interactive exhibition featuring works by official war artists and photographers from the First World War.
The online gallery – Art of nation: Australia’s official art and photography of the First World War – features more than 600 works of art and photography from the Memorial’s collection, allowing users to explore the building and its paintings and photographs, while learning the stories behind the works and the artists.
Director of the Australian War Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson said the interactive exhibition honours Bean’s legacy and will allow a new generation of users to understand the vision behind the Memorial, which has become a national institution and an international icon.