Here is the first of several blog posts about the wedding dreses being considered and conserved for our upcoming Of love and war exhibition.
On December 3, 2009, the Australian War Memorial will be opening its exhibition “Of love and war”.
The impact of war on romantic relationships and the ways in which Australians incorporated affairs of the heart into their wartime lives is a powerful subject and we would like the public to contribute their stories via our Flickr group.
The Memorial recently acquired a mysterious letter. It is beautifully written and decorated, but we don't know much about it. It seems it was written by a French woman to her sweetheart, and we assume he was Australian, as the letter ended up in Australia. We do not know who they were, but we do know that the letter was written on 25 August 1918 and was sent from Saint-Sulpice-les-Feuilles in France. The writer, Martha (or perhaps Marthe) Gylbert, obviously missed her soldier, and went to a great deal of trouble to decorate the letter.
A new permanent exhibition, Over the Front: the Great War in the air, will open on 28 November 2008 at the eastern end of ANZAC Hall. The story of military flight and aerial combat during the First World War will be brought to life through the Memorial’s collection of five original and extraordinary aircraft and an exciting sound-and-light show.
I realise this is short notice, but we just filmed a short segment on the charge at Beersheba (31 October 1917) in the exhibition this afternoon. It should run on SBS World News Australia, from 6.30 to 7.30 pm. It is being run in conjunction with a story about the dedication of the new Australian Light Horse Memorial at Beersheba by the Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Australian Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery in Israel on 28 April 2008.
My colleague Robyn Van Dyk and I have probably taken well over 1,200 people on guided tours of the Memorial's current special exhibition Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse. As ANZAC Day 2008 approaches it is interesting to reflect on which Light Horse images have resonated most profoundly with our visitors. This week, I also took some veterans from the Vietnam War through the exhibition.
These tours are advertised elsewhere on our website, but just in case you've not seen them, either Robyn or myself are running tours of the exhibition at 10.45 am on the following dates:
14, 21, 24 and 27 February
5, 10, 12, 19 and 26 March
2, 9, 16, 23, 24* and 30 April
7, 14, 21, and 24 May
They usually last around an hour, unless we get carried away. Of course you can always download the audio tour and bring it with you on an MP3 player.