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Somme Centenary Heritage Day in County Down

Posted  1 July 2016 in News  
By Hannah Clark
Somme Mural, Sydenham, Northern Ireland © Keith Lilley

In County Down in Northern Ireland, the Somme Museum is hosting an event on Friday 1 July to commemorate the centenary of the opening of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916. A day of activities at the museum (near Bangor) are offered free-of-charge to everyone, thanks to researchers from the ‘Living Legacies 1914-18’ WW1 engagement centre, based at Queen’s University Belfast.

The public are encouraged to bring along any WW1 family-related items such as photographs, letters, postcards, diaries or other memorabilia. The Somme Centenary Heritage Day is aimed at those interested in finding out more about the Battle of the Somme, how it impacted on North Down people and landscapes, and what it was like on the frontline a hundred years ago.

Researchers from the Living Legacies centre will be on hand in the foyer area of the Museum on 1 July between 11am and 1pm and 2pm and 4pm, using their state-of-the-art digital scanning equipment to help individuals interpret and tell a story of wartime items. For those who wish to share their cherished possessions, this is an opportunity to digitally record personal legacies and reminders from the Great War. The aim is to preserve and capture memories for the benefit of future generations.

As well as bringing WW1 objects, the researchers will also be using new technologies to show how different types of trenches were created in the battlefields of France and Belgium. An Augmented Reality Sandbox will show how trench warfare changed during the war, and how the landscape of the Somme battlefield affected how the battle was fought. Learning how to build a trench today helps to better understand the important role played by terrain in WW1 battles.

For those interested in seeing what landscapes were like in WW1, both at home and on the frontline at the Somme, the researchers will have photographs and maps to look at. Again, digital technologies will help to explore the Somme in new ways, using ‘green screen technology’ to place members of the public in the trenches and training camps known by the troops, and using digital mapping technologies to trace how trench systems changed during the course of the Battle of the Somme which continued through to November 1916.

Find out more by visiting the Living Legacies website.

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