In the heart of the Battlefield, the Verdun Memorial, which first opened in 1967 under the patronage of French Academician and war veteran
Maurice Genevoix, is one of the most important Great War museums in Europe. It is also one of the only museums built on the actual site of a battle.
After 2 years of renovation and extension work, and a reopening symbolically scheduled in February 2016, the Verdun Memorial offers a high-quality museum experience.
An extra floor offers a unique panoramic view that helps visitors to understand how the earth was shattered and the landscape transformed and then rebuilt thanks to the remarkable management by the national forestry commission, the ONF, of this Forêt d’Exception®, a conservatory of authentic Great War remains
Spread over three levels, a collection of 2,000 objects, a multitude of photographs, many previously unseen, French and German personal accounts, and exceptional audiovisual exhibits provide insights into the experience of soldiers from all horizons who came here to fight.
As soon as they enter, visitors are invited to situate the Battle of Verdun in time and History, and then to follow in the footsteps of a soldier on his way to the front. The ground floor is dedicated to the experience of the French and German frontline soldiers. Faithful to the founding
idea of the Memorial to preserve an area of the shattered earth in memory of all the soldiers of the Great War, the new displays are centred on a 100 m² audiovisual exhibit that evokes the dramatic experience of the combatants on a devastated battlefield. A crypt takes the visitor into the fragile personal space of a soldier under heavy gunfire.
On the first floor, visitors enter the geopolitical context of the battle. This second level introduces the visitor to the aviators, gunners and military staff involved in the battle, as well as life immediately behind the lines, where the medics worked tirelessly.
On the top floor, entirely created for 2016, the Memorial's walls open up onto the surrounding countryside and the visitor can visualise the changes to the landscape thanks to interactive kiosks.
There is a temporary exhibition space, a documentation centre (whose collection can be consulted on www.documentation.memorial-verdun.fr ), a lounge area and a teaching room. Allow at least 1 hr 30 for your visit.