Introduction to the museum
The basic idea behind the In Flanders Museum, is that talking about a war of more than ninety years ago (1914-1918), can also be meaningful for today. The essence of war does not change, only the technical means by which different wars reach their conclusion.
The In Flanders Fields Museum is intended to interpret the story of the First World War in Flanders for visitors of today and tomorrow, using modern museum techniques and multimedia. This museum is intended above all to be a place of meeting, between the people of the Great War and those now. The exhibition invites the visitor to identify, in the hope that the realisation will be strengthened that "once was enough", that the horrific story of this war is perfectly interchangeable with that of any other war at any other time. Ultimately, the In Flanders Fields Museum intends to stimulate a more in-depth look at how we deal with war and peace.
In Flanders Fields Museum & ArcLand
During World War One, for the first time, aerial photography rapidly developed as an intelligence tool that saw large scale application by all fighting nations. More than 500,000 of these photographs have survived in archives all over Europe, the United States and even Australia. These are a remarkable primary record of the progress of World War One, but are also a unique record of the European landscape at the beginning of the 20th century and a valuable source of data for archaeologists, landscape historians or cultural resource managers. The involvement of the IFFM proposal aims to use these aerial photographs as a source for landscape study and cultural heritage management purposes in Belgium.
There are a number of large research questions and aims:
A first aim is to select in the appropriate archives (Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Bavarian Military Archives, Belgian Royal Army Museum) a substantial number of WW1 aerial photographs which are located in the Ypres Salient and to further research and publicize the content of these important sources.
This substantial dataset of thousands of WW1 APS will be used to make an inventory of all visible war features on the aerial photographs (trenches, gun emplacements, bunkers, barracks, airfields, etc..). This is a unique record of the progress of the First World War (more detailed than can be done by contemporary maps and historical documents) and will provide unique insights into the relationship between the natural landscape in Flanders and the siting of the material remains of this transnational conflict. The developed layer will be a much needed working document for the management of this fragile heritage.
For a selected number of case studies in the research area of the Ypres Salient the evolution of the landscape will be studied. On the early aerial photographs of 1915 and 1916, large parts of the landscape are still intact and the effect of both Allied and German artillery is still very low. These aerial photographs allow to study - more than any other source available how the landscape at the beginning of the previous century looks like. The inventory of war features visible on the aerial photographs will be used to gain insight into the specific location of the trench system in the landscape (used of hedges, field boundaries, relation with natural topography, viewshed analysis, etc). The aerial photographs of the second part of 1918 on the other indicate to what extend the landscapes has been destroyed by artillery fire. After the war, the landscape has been reconstructed and rebuilt to allow the population of to re-use the lands for living and agriculture. It is interesting to deeper go into this subject by comparing the WW1 aerial photographs with imagery from WW2 (1939 German GX and The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives) and the 21st century (1:10,000 scale orthophotos).
Research Centre In Flanders Fields Museum
B- 8900 Ypres
Tel: +32 (0) 57 239 450