08 February 2012

Australian War Memorial

I hadn't been to the Australian War Memorial for a few years, so took the opportunity to visit it while we were in Canberra.
Obviously the War Memorial has a great deal of material, and the displays are certainly both moving and impressive.     These range from the dioramas (especially in the World War 1 section) through to the "sound and light" shows.    Overall, I thought that a reasonable balance was achieved as between the various issues that need to be covered.  That said, it's interesting that the arrangement is structured to lead most visitors first to the World War 1 display, and certainly on my visit more people were in this area than in any other area.
There were quite a number of visitors when I was there - many of whom were Asian (presumably visiting Australia).   There are no restrictions on photography, which is a welcome approach
Detail from one of the WW1 dioramas

One aspect that I thought was handled particularly well were the information panels on the underlying causes of many of the conflicts.   I had not previously appreciated the events that gave rise to the Boer War, but these seem to be summed up quite well.   The origins of World War 1 were, I thought, very effectively conveyed in just a few paragraphs.
At the time of my visit, there was a special exhibition on the role of nurses in various conflicts..

Plan of the Nui Dat base, Vietnam
It's natural, I guess, when one has had some personal involvement in an aspect covered in an exhibition such as this to look carefully at the treatment of that topic, but overall I thought the treatment of all the subject matter was dealt with reasonably well.  I suppose the one reflection I would make is that the impression given is that 'war' involves a lot of action, even if it is very dangerous and most unpleasant.   Yet the reality is that there's also a lot of waiting, inertia and boredom.

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