In the heart of the World War I Somme battlefields stands Château de Péronne, a castle that now houses the Museum of the Great War, often called Historial. The exhibitions solely focus on World War I, its origins, repercussions and conclusions, from the early years to the deadly finale, placing war in a social context and stressing the common suffering of the combatants. It also presents the war from a civilian standpoint, which were equally mobilized by the war effort in this affected region. The museum features two permanent exhibits; the first one, “Prisoners of War”, deals with all aspects of captivity and presents the harsh reality of 500,000 French, 160,000 British and 85,000 Germans prisoners of war. The second exhibit, “Children in World War I”, highlights the way children were subject to and of propaganda, how schoolbooks dwelled on patriotic duty to inspire future soldiers and nurses, for example. The Historial, which was envisioned in the context of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and opened its doors in 1992,keeps a collection of more than 70,000 civil and military objects. The museography and interior architecture simultaneously illustrate what life was like for soldiers on the front and at home.
The Museum of the Great War is located inside Château de Péronne on Place André Audinot in Péronne, Picardie. It is two hours northeast of Paris and can be reached by car via A1 and exit 13. The museum is open every day except Wednesday from 9:30am to 5pm between October and March, and from 9:30am to 6pm between April and September. It is closed from mid-December to mid-January. Entry costs €9 per adult and €4.50 per child.