Great War Museum - Musée de la Grande Guerre

To note :
Annual closure from August 19 to September 6, 2024.
Reopening on Saturday September 7 for the historical reenactment weekend.

With a collection of some 70,000 items and documents that tell of everyday military life during World War I, the Great War Museum in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne, France) is an opportunity to delve into the history of the First World War, also known as the Great War. 

The Museum, which opened on 11 November 2011 on the site of the First Battle of the Marne in Meaux, is Europe’s biggest First World War museum. Spread across 3,000 square metres, it has one of the richest and most varied collections linked to the Great War, with attractive, innovative scenography.

Why visit this Museum?

More than 70,000 items and documents make up the collection, in an exhibition space of 3,000 square metres
Discover the full uniforms of the main warring countries, weaponry and artillery parts, heavy equipment, everyday items from the front and rear, and a vast collection of documents and graphic artworks.

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A unique collection in Europe

The trail presents several aspects of the Great War, which are easily accessible.
With sound, archive images and objects to touch and handle, the visit is truly immersive. The visitor plays an active role in their discovery, to better understand the daily hardships faced by men and women and the importance of the First World War and its consequences for the 20th century and present day.

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Accessible history

Illustrating the major shifts and upheavals brought on by the First World War, the exhibition shows how, between 1914 and 1918, the world shifted from the 19th to the 20th century, particularly when it came to progress in medicine, communications, extensive industrialization, wartime transformation of societies and the key role of women during the conflict.

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An immersive journey back in time to understand history and the modern world

See, hear, touch, explore…
Many multimedia devices are located along the visitor trail, and in every space, historical items can be picked up and handled, such as helmets, canteens, mess tins and shells.

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Feel free to touch

The Museum is accessible to all ages and offers visitor tools and activities that are suitable for the whole family. There is a family area, an activity booklet, touch screens, audio guides, information and activity workshops.

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A museum for all the family

With a tailored scenography, items from the Museum’s collection and others on public and private loan provide greater understanding of World War I, presented in temporary exhibitions.
All year round, the Great War Museum schedules cultural events that offer a different approach to this war, through performing arts, conferences, workshops and key events.

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Temporary exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year

In September 1914, World War I came to Meaux with the Battle of the Marne. The region is still marked by its history.

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A region in remembrance

Through the collection’s diversity, the memory of the conflict is preserved and shared with every visitor.

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Duty of remembrance

When one man’s passion leads to a museum

Originally, most of the uniforms, weapons and everyday objects of the Great War that are on display in the Museum belonged to one passionate historian, Jean-Pierre Verney. For almost half a century, he patiently gathered a unique collection of items, a genuine treasure of World War I heritage.

In 2005, Jean-François Copé, President of the Pays de Meaux agglomeration community, in an area affected by the Great War, decided to promote the collection. He purchased Jean-Pierre Verney’s collection and suggested a museum to preserve the memory of World War I. This collection has since been enriched with more than 15,000 additional items, through donations and acquisitions.

<b>Today, the collection counts some 70,000 items and documents.</b>

Great War Museum

An architectural statement in an area marked by history

A modern-day venue to illustrate the past: this was architect Christophe Lab’s successful gamble, as winner of the competition to build the Museum. The concrete, glass and metal construction is deliberately contemporary. The building highlights the natural slope of the land, with a horizontal effect that contrasts with the vertical rise of the American Monument, and provides several viewpoints to observe it. These are accessible via walkways from the roof and the forecourt, creating a permanent dialogue between the two. The respective purposes of the Monument and Museum complement one other, with the American Monument as a site of remembrance, and the Museum one of knowledge, discovery and learning. The Museum, a building of 7,000 square metres, of which 3,000 dedicated to the permanent exhibition, was designed to serve the collection and the visitor trail, incorporating iconic pieces into its structure: domes for the planes, the pit for the tank and the space to recreate the battlefield.

Partners of the Great War Museum in Meaux