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Comparing Caen Memorial Museum to the Imperial War Museum in London

After taking an overnight ferry from Portsmouth, England to Caen, Paris, the class had the opportunity to visit the Caen Memorial, which also has a museum. The Caen Memorial and museum greatly contrast those seen in London in a number of ways. These differences come down to the presentation of the content.

Whereas the Imperial War Museum in London, while beautifully designed, seem to be a showcase of the accomplishments of the allies, the Caen Memorial museum creates a layered experience that encourages the visitor to dive into the rich history of World War I and II. The Imperial War Museum stages its content and objects to be impressive in their own rights and the Caen Museum presents its content as part of an overall narrative.

Secondly, the Imperial War Museum in London has a fairly ambiguous set-up that can lead to a series of different paths. On the other hand, the exhibitions in the Caen museum seem more directional and encourage the visitor to more closely follow the timeline of events. There is a natural flow within the Caen museum that only exists in parts of the Imperial War Museum.

Furthermore, information in the Caen museum is presented in three primary languages, French, German, and English, which allows more people to directly learn the information. Both museums do offer audioguides in more languages, however, many people prefer not to use these. By having three languages to display gallery text, it is much easier to associate the information with the object that is being discussed.

I find myself being more intrigued by the Caen Museum because it presents its content as a global narrative rather than a monologue. The Caen Memorial Museum more successfully engages the visitor and enables this person to connect with the narratives presented.