The Caen Memorial
With a museum, multimedia library, bookstore and 35 hectares of land with monuments and gardens open to the public, this memorial of Caen is one of many national landmarks that attracts countless visitors, including in several Normandy Tours.
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The Museum’s History
Inaugurated in 1988, the Caen Memorial Museum promotes world peace and houses permanent and temporary exhibitions that cover 20th century events. Three collections are on display throughout the year: the Second World War, the Cold War, and current world events as represented in media cartoons. The museum also attempts to view this period with an analytical eye while asking the public to never forget the dramatic consequences of the conflicts that marked the 20th century.
Visiting the museum’s permanent collections is done in different stages. For example, the rooms are organized according to a pre- and post-1945 world. Main conflicts are brought to life with period objects and reenactments. Such exhibitions allow visitors to better understand what life was like during these difficult times.
The museum’s central themes are the disembarkment on June 6, 1944 (D-day), or the Battle at Normandy, France’s “Dark Years,” or the period during which the Germany Army occupied France, and the Cold War. Since 2013, it’s possible to visit an underground bunker that is 70 meters long and 3 meters high. Carved into rock, the bunker housed switchboard operators and secretaries who worked for the Germany Army.
Tailored to school groups and by reservation only, the program ranges from documentary film screenings to workshops that are directly related to temporary exhibitions.
The Caen Memorial is quite unique in that it organizes moot court competitions that are open to children. This kind of role playing allows children to defend a cause they’re conscious of during their museum visit. Child workers, child soldiers and the right to a fair trial are just some of the topics.
Events and Temporary Exhibitions
Every year, the Caen Memorial puts on temporary exhibitions that cover a variety of subjects that are coupled by a wide range of events. In particular, film screenings during the school holidays, commemorations on the anniversary of certain 20th century conflicts, as well as meetings and conferences, are organized.
It’s definitely worth stopping at the Caen Memorial during your stay in the Calvados region, an area heavily affected by the conflict. The memorial allows visitors to step back and consider the conflict with a different perspective. The Battle at Normandy, which followed the landing of troops at various D-Day beaches, was a first step toward the liberation of France.
Discover our tips about duration of visit and don't miss the essential galleries of Memorial de Caen.