Source: News releases from St Albans Museums
This November, St Albans Museum + Gallery will commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day, which marked the end of the First World War in 1918. Two new exhibitions exploring the lasting impact of the First World War and how we remember it are now on display in the museum’s West Keeper’s Gallery and Assembly Room.
Lasting Peace? explores how our First World War memorials have changed from those first street shrines to the large public displays we see today.
Even before the First World War had ended the people of St Albans, and the rest of the country, were already creating memorials to the soldiers they knew and loved. As we look back to the end of “the war to end all wars”, we consider the street memorials that are still visible and important parts of our City & District today. Visitors are invited to take home the name of one of the men listed on the St Albans’ war memorials and to consider those early plaques and think deeply on whether we still hope for the “peace of the world”.
Told through a host of evocative objects, artefacts and paintings, this exhibition is a moving exploration of memory and the First World War. On display in this thought-provoking exhibition are a pair of memorial windows from the Folly Lane Chapel in Wheathampstead. These windows were rescued from a salvage yard after the demolition of the chapel and list the names of the chapel members who died during the First World War.
A portrait of Second Lieutenant “Eric” Freeman is also on display. This painting was created by Harpenden born artist Frank Salisbury, a distinguished society artist who painted Sir Winston Churchill and was once regarded as Britain’s Painter Laureate.
Freeman was killed in the Battle of the Somme when he was 22 years old and Salisbury painted this intimate portrait from a photograph.
St Albans Legacy exhibition is also displayed in the Assembly Room showcasing the artworks and creative responses of local pupils to the First World War. The exhibition is curated by Andie Hill and is the culmination of a multimedia art competition which reveals what the Armistice means to a new generation.
As well as these powerful exhibitions, St Albans Museum + Gallery will also host screenings of Howard Guard’s A County at War, Life on the Home Front in Hertfordshire in the atmospheric cells. This 50 minute film was commissioned by the HM Lieutenancy of Hertfordshire. It highlights the unsung heroes of the Home Front and is made from photographs supplied by local museums and the public.
Family craft activities making poppies and evening talks exploring the City’s Military Service Tribunals - which were held in the Courtroom - are just a few of the commemorative activities planned.
The museum will stay open until 6:30pm on Sunday 11th November ahead of a service and beacon lighting at the War Memorial in St Peters Street.
All activities are part of St Albans Remembers, the wider commemorative activities across the City.