Experience the Love & Sorrow of World War I

21 July, 2014

A loving farewell for an Australian soldier
A loving farewell for an Australian soldier.
Source: Australian War Memorial, H16139

Melbourne Museum’s new exhibition WWI: Love & Sorrow opening on 30 August tells the century-old personal stories of war with 21st century technology.

August 2014 marks one hundred years since the outbreak of World War I - Australia’s most costly war to date. At a time when Australia’s population was less than five million, over 450,000 Australians enlisted to fight in the war. More than 61,000 Australians died, while many more returned physically and mentally scarred.

But these are not just numbers in a history textbook.

“Every one of those statistics has its own story, with its own family and loved ones,” said Deborah Tout-Smith, curator of WWI: Love & Sorrow. “When we talk about war we often talk about the battles and the dates. With this exhibition we wanted to bring the people back into the picture.”

The exhibition allows visitors to experience one of the world’s most destructive conflicts through the eyes of eight real-life individuals, including a Victorian mother awaiting the return of her son; Aboriginal brothers from Orbost fighting on the Western Front; and a Jewish German soldier on the other side of that same front.

To tell these eight remarkable stories, Museum Victoria has worked closely with award-winning multimedia companies to create a fully integrated augmented exhibition experience. Together with the company behind MONA’s O, Art Processors, the exhibition has developed a smartphone app using beacon interactive technology that allows visitors to follow the stories in greater detail. As visitors move through the space wearing headphones, audio and visual messages are received at trigger points throughout the exhibition.

“Each story is deeply personal and emotional, giving audiences a sometimes painful and heart-rending experience of the true destruction and desolation of World War I,” Tout-Smith commented.

The exhibition will include a powerful interactive projection experience of Glencourse Wood, a battleground in Ypres, Belgium, where so many Australians lost their lives. As the visitor walks through the projection, their body outline interacts with the installation, giving a dynamic view of the woodland before, during and after the battle.

“Museum Victoria experts have developed this exhibition over some four years, collecting objects from across the world. Utilising this innovative technology this exhibition does what we do best – tell the stories of Victorians,” said Dr Patrick Greene, Museum Victoria, CEO.

WWI: Love & Sorrow has been created by Museum Victoria and includes over 300 objects many of which will be on display for the first time in Victoria. Each of these items tells a story of love and of sorrow: from the wheeled bed used for over 40 years by an injured veteran to a baby bootie sent to a new father on the front line only to be returned with a telegram notifying of his death.

Entry is free with Museum admission.

WWI: Love & Sorrow - 30 August 2014 to 2018
Melbourne Museum
Adults $12, children and concessions FREE
Tickets on sale now via phone: 13 11 02 or visit www.museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum

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For further media information, interviews or images, please contact:
Anna Barnes on tel: 0478 348 877 or email: abarnes@museum.vic.gov.au