Goodbye to All That: Armistice 1918—an exhibition

Goodbye to All That: Armistice 1918—an exhibition

Students from Victoria University of Wellington’s Museum and Heritage Studies programme have worked in conjunction with the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, to create an exhibition that explores the social impacts of the First World War.

Read more about the experience from Museum and Heritage Studies student Lizzie Callaghan.

Whatever the outcome, nobody truly wins in war. Lives are lost, families are broken, and the effects of war are felt long after the fighting stops. With the centenary commemoration of the Armistice this year, our exhibition Goodbye to All That: Armistice 1918, which opens today, aims to acknowledge and honour the sacrifices made by thousands of people, and in turn, ensure the memory of them is not lost to the passage of time.

Over the past four months, myself and fellow Master of Museum and Heritage Practice students have put hours of work into research, design consultations, programme schedules, and marketing in preparation for an exhibition that explores the people who gave their services on and off the battlefield, not only during a four-year long conflict, but also in the aftermath—the effects of war were felt long after the signing of the ceasefire in a train carriage, with on-going health complications and a long journey home.

The creation of Goodbye to All That involved a lot of skills that we had to engage and learn. Establishing and researching the exhibition’s main themes, curating the object lists, and developing the best way to showcase each section to do justice to the story of the First World War was no small feat. But we were not alone in this endeavour. Our lecturer, Dr Conal McCarthy and staff at the National Library of New Zealand guided us the whole way, advising us on how to best deliver the research and knowledge we had curated as a group to make an accessible, informative exhibition for everybody to enjoy.

One of the best aspects of a student-created exhibition is the diversity of expertise from each student. Knowledge in areas such as history, classical studies, art history, political science, biological anthropology, theatre, and music meant that we had a wide breadth of useful skills at our disposal, and everybody made contributions to the project that were both different and valuable in equal measure. Endless thanks must also go to our exhibition’s graphic designer, Marie Bailey, a second-year Visual Communication and Design student at Massey University, whose expertise in visual arts and graphics produced amazing designs that elevated our exhibition advertising to a truly professional level.

Goodbye to All That: Armistice 1918 is open from Monday 10 September to Saturday 1 December at the Turnbull Gallery, National Library of New Zealand.

Lizzie Callaghan is a Master of Museum and Heritage Practice student. For a behind-the-scenes look at the exhibition, follow @goodbyetoallthatexhibition

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