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The Interpretation Centre

The interactive Interpretation centre 14-18 examines the life of the soldiers and the civil population during the war. Its semi-underground construction evokes the now inaccessible Australian Catacombs shelters built within the confines of Hill 63. A pyramid of glass marks the entrance to the Centre where, inside, the high-tech informative scenographics will capture the visitors’ imagination.

Together with the Australian government, three presentations have been prepared relating to their troops’ presence in Ploegsteert, covering The Battle of Messines, the Catacombs and the winter of 1917-18.

5 themes are proposed to the visitors :

1. Film relating the causes of the 14-18 conflict and the sequence of alliances leading to the globalisation of the conflict.

2. Relief map with animations describing the progress and retreat of the forces involved, but also the outcome of fight that took place in Armentières, Bailleul, Comines-Warneton, Menin and Ypres sectors.

3. Touch screens entirely dedicated to the intervention of ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers. Large touchscreens, real giant tablets, allowed the evolution of these battles to be followed, a prelude to the 3rd Battle of Ypres.

4.  Six themes are developed in this station on touchscreens. They cover topics such as :

  • Propaganda and the manipulation of information.
  • The rigour of the German administration and its share of privations and requisitions.
  • Survival at the front and the daily life of the population confronted with cohabitation.
  • Humour as a remedy and support for the troops...
  • The fraternization of Christmas 1914.
  • The cult of memory.

5.  This last element of the scenography proposes a virtual visit of the memory sites near Plugstreet 14-18 experience Centre.