War in the Museum: The Historial of the Great War in Péronne and the Military History Museum in Dresden

Nina Parish, Eleanor Rowley, Cristian Cercel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article examines how contemporary war museums represent war and war-making. It looks at and compares the ideas underpinning the permanent exhibitions of two museums – the Historial of the Great War in Péronne (France) and the Military History Museum (MHM) in Dresden (Germany) –, analyzing examples from the exhibitions to illustrate the argument. It also discusses the architecture of these museums and their respective horizontal and vertical configurations. Our analysis demonstrates that the Historial promotes an anti-war message in the name of European reconciliation whilst the narrative put forward by the MHM allows for the possibility of war. On a theoretical level, it shows that a cosmopolitan mode of remembering, although consensus-oriented, can create surprisingly different political positions whilst suggesting that an agonistic turn in representing war and war-making in the museum, with an onus on multiple, even conflicting, perspectives, can help respond to contemporary challenges related to difficult history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-214
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of War and Culture Studies
Issue number2
Early online date1 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • Historial of the Great War
  • Military History Museum in Dresden
  • agonistic memory
  • cosmopolitan memory
  • cultural turn
  • war museums

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations

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