The outbreak of the First World War, one hundredth years ago, was the reason for the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History [Koninklijk Legermuseum] to carry out a thorough refurbishment of the infamous Trench of Death visitor centre. On the basis of extensive historical research, the visitor route has been completely renewed. All kinds of interactive features are now available to visitors to tell them everything they would like to know about the Trench of Death and, in the process, a number of persistent historical myths about this valuable site are finally put to bed. The museum is no longer dark and dingy but, instead, a modern and interactive visitor centre with a focus on authenticity. With visitors are experts or not, the Trench of Death is now ready to be discovered.
It goes without saying that the renovated Trench of Death Interpretation Centre uses the most modern museum techniques available. It has fifteen interactive applications, texts, photos, film images and unique objects from the collections of the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History to guide visitors through the fascinating history of the Trench of Death.
Not only does the Interpretation Centre explain how the Trench of Death came about and what exactly happened in this notorious trench, it is also placed in a new context. After all, there is a direct relationship between this trench and the German trenches close by. Original photos, objects and fragments from diaries are used to illustrate, for the first time, the German side of the story.
It is a green oasis of rest and serenity. To show visitors the way, completely new signage has been installed, entirely in keeping with the atmosphere of the cemetery. Besides designing in the right atmosphere, customer friendliness was also important. The new range of information signs displays a clear intuitive wayfinding with attention to environment and visitor.
Photo: Inneke Gebruers