History & Culture

The Museum of the Great War

Péronne and Thiepval Museums

The Museum of the Great War was opened in 1992, at the very heart of the Somme Battlefields in Péronne. The contemporary museum, designed by architect Henri-Edouard Ciriani, was incorporated into Péronne’s 13th century castle, an emblem of the town of Péronne, besieged many times throughout history. 

At the heart of the Somme Battlefields, the Museum of the Great War presents the full magnitude of the First World War.

In between Péronne's town centre and the green setting of the Cam Pond, the Museum stands in a neo-modern, concrete building, designed by architect Henri-Edouard Ciriani, and recently opened new parts of the medieval castle.

Of international repute, the Museum in Péronne is a museum of compared history, which interweaves German, French and British perspectives. This is expressed through an exceptional exhibition of 70,000 civilian and military artefacts, works of art and original documents. Unique to public collections, the 50 etchings of the Der Krieg series by Otto Dix, witness to the suffering and horror of this war. A major annual temporary exhibition complements the visit.

5 Permanent Galleries

The Pre-1914 Gallery

In this gallery are the causes of the Great War: the imperial aspirations and tensions; colonial disputes; modern weapons; the Balkan wars; the systems of alliances and the militarisation of European societies. A map of the Daily Mail has been reproduced on a large floor panel, located to the right of the entrance to the 1914-1916 gallery.

The 1914-1916 Gallery: Experiences of War

The gallery looks at the mobilisation of the countries at war, the stalemate of trench warfare, the occupation of Belgian and French territories, death in battle, and mourning. The “display pits” with the effigies of French, German and British soldiers from 1914 and 1915, armed with their military equipment and personal effects and documents, are a constant surprise to visitors.

The 1916-1918 Gallery: Presents total and industrial warfare

Because of the war, the whole population came together as one, as well as every available resource, propaganda was used to bring meaning to it all. During the course of the war, perfections were made to artillery, aircraft and submarines, while gas and tanks made their first appearances on the battlefields and means of communication were developed.

The Otto Dix Gallery

Here you’ll find the engravings of the Der Krieg series, of which the Museum is the proud owner of one of the rare original and complete sets. They portray the war in every aspect of its horror and folly, in the words of Henri Barbusse

Post War Gallery: The Consequences of War

The end of the First World War encouraged new ideologies to emerge and announced a new world order. Grief was overwhelming for most and so public or privately financed memorials were erected in commemoration and remembrance of the fallen.

The Museum at Thiepval

Built in 2004 close to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, the Thiepval Visitor Centre places the Museum of the Great War at the heart of the remembrance trail.

From Visitor Centre to the Thiepval Museum

At the heart of the Somme Battlefields, close to the Thiepval Memorial, the museum welcomes visitors to Thiepval. The recent renovations to its shop, cafeteria, toilets and picnic area have enhanced the quality of the services.

A database enables visitors to learn about the lives of 11,000 missing in action, the lost soldiers whose bodies were never found or identified. Volunteers Pam & Ken Linge created the database and their continued research is regularly consulted by British visitors seeking their ancestors. It is devoted to the history of the Battles of the Somme, especially the Somme Campaign of 1916, and to the memory of the Missing. The permanent exhibition of 400 square metres, unites museum pieces, archaeological artefacts, multimedia, and large-scale installations such as the replica of Charles Guynemer's aeroplane. The 60-metre long mural by Joe Sacco opens an imaginary window onto the 1 July 1916 battlefield.

This unique and original exhibition provides visitors with an informative experience charged with emotion.

How to get there: 

The Museum of The Great War is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle in Calais.

Follow the A16 and D127 from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Calais Terminal. Follow the A26 then the A1 motorway. Take the exit direction Péronne.

Péronne – Collection Museum

Château de Péronne – 80200 Péronne

+33 (0)3 22 83 14 18

1st April to 30 Sept: 9.30am – 6pm – Everyday

1st Oct to 31 Mar: 9.30am – 5pm – Closed on Wednesday

Closed from mid-December to mid-January

Thiepval Museum

Rue de l’Ancre – 80300 Thiepval

+33 (0)3 22 74 60 47

1st Mar to 31 Oct: 9.30am – 6pm – Everyday

1st Oct to End of Feb.: 9.30am – 5pm – Closed on Wednesday

Closed from mid-December to mid-January


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