The Port Towns and Urban Cultures research hub is excited to be working in partnership with Portsmouth City Museums and Records Service on their forthcoming project to produce an exhibition and a series of community events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. Portsmouth City Museum was awarded a grant of £97,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund towards their programme of events, the centre of which will be the ‘Lest We Forget’ exhibition. Portsmouth City Museum is also a member of the Centenary Partnership Programme, led by the Imperial War Museum, which aims to create a collective voice and coordinated programming of local, national and international commemorations of the centenary.
‘Lest we Forget’ will tell the story of some of the people who took part in the First World War as servicemen and women or civilians using Portsmouth’s museum and archive collections in an exhibition which will open in July 2014. PTUC’s Brad Beaven has been invited to become guest curator of the exhibition and will convert his academic expertise through his studies of the period and the local area to help bring the story of Portsmouth’s contribution to the First World War into focus. He is aided by Melanie Bassett, PTUC’s Research Associate, who will also work with the museum to develop the exhibition’s interpretation plan and engage and train local community groups to take part in researching their local history.
The starting point for Lest We Forget is the 200 people who contributed to the First World War – on the frontline or at home in Portsmouth – who are represented in the city’s museum and archive collections by photographs, medals, casualty plaques or other personal items. However, the museum is keen to engage visitors in helping the museum understand more fully the extent of the role of the local community during the First World War. One of the most exciting features of the exhibition will be the opportunity for visitors to help the museum to research members of the local community who fought in the First World War. Visitors will be invited to “fill the gaps” in the exhibition and it is hoped that through the life of the project more information will be found and incorporated into the exhibition.
Can you help? The project is currently looking for volunteers to help with the project in a number of research, outreach and technical roles. If you are interested in participating in the project, please read the Lest We Forget Volunteer Invite
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