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Mons Memorial Museum

Article about: During our recent trip to Mons in Belgium for “Tanks in Town” we dropped in on the Mons Memorial Museum for a peep. Mons is probably best known for WW1, claiming the deaths of the first Brit

  1. #1

    Default Mons Memorial Museum

    During our recent trip to Mons in Belgium for “Tanks in Town” we dropped in on the Mons Memorial Museum for a peep. Mons is probably best known for WW1, claiming the deaths of the first British soldier and the last one. The Museum had just unveiled their star piece – a plinth’d M4 outside and there was an M5 parked up, taxi-like, just outside (the M4 is permanent). Due to either the weekends celebrations or the fact that we looked like a Presidential delegation (not!) there was no charge for us (usually €9 + €3…I’ll come back to that). The Museum all seemed very new and plush…lots of varnished light wood and minimal lighting – I think it is a converted brewery – very nicely done. It is effectively in 2 parts….a typical (nowadays) Museum and an audio/visual bolt-on if you want to strap something to your head and pay a bit more – we chose the Museum only….well, I’d just had a “highlights, blow dry and set” by Maurice for €20…..so we skipped the Jetsons bit....although it was full of young folk. We were told to allow 45 minutes to get round before (not) diving headlong into the new-fangled other bit. I think we were back out in 10 minutes. It’s a stunning building…of which the architects and interior designers must be very proud…but it was a modern museum…lots….LOTS of darkness….lots of one dimensional framed images (pictures!), lots of we-can-see-that-on-our-phones video clips…and minimal actual “stuff”. The largest space was dominated by some very clever giant Czech Hedgehog-shaped display cabinets (for small long thin stuff) which would’ve looked at home in an IKEA catalogue…probably called “Tankstoppenhurg” or similar…..oh and there was a drop canister. The highlights (for us) was the Drum Wall (marvelous!) and Goerings severed head, laying at the base of a large 3-weapon cabinet (see pics). I sincerely hope it draws the public in and it survives – but it clearly wasn’t aimed at us - after all, we’re just collectors, researchers and authors. In summary, a pretty place to visit (well there IS a tank outside) and yet another building dominated by stuff that we can read on Google or watch on Youtube. People like us need to forget that a museum used to be “a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited”…sadly, I guess, those museums didn’t make money.

    Oh, and take a torch...or a Dime for the electricity meter!






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    Mons is a great town to visit, especially for the "Tanks in Town" weekend....it's a delightful cobbled-streeted Belgium town.....errrr.....with tanks in! (qualifying weekend only, batteries not included, not a flying toy, some assembly required, side-effects are possible, stocks can go up as well as down, illumination levels may vary, not ALL streets are "cobbled", weather conditions may vary, item stated is NOT an IKEA item)

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  3. #2

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    This seems to be a trend with modern museums, and older museums that have been reworked (think of the IWM in London). It's become fashionable to dumb these places down, sanitise them and make them more 'PC'. I too thought a museum was a place meant for the exhibition of artifacts, but most museums today seem to focus more on being an art gallery or making a political statement. Those tank trap cabinets are very clever, and eye-catching, but imagine how much more 'stuff' could be displayed in that space if boring old square-shaped cabinets were used instead.

    Still looks like an interesting place to visit, but perhaps not something to plan a day trip around!

    Regards, B.B.
    ''Everyday you think of living. We are born to die, but I appreciate life. We live day by day, and I always say: yesterday is history, today's reality, and tomorrow's a dream.' -- Henry Flescher, Holocaust Survivor -- March 14, 1924 - August 29, 2018

  4. #3

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    it'd be a long day to just do that one.....the Tanks event is a good time to double-up tho (separate Post to follow)....and with Bastogne about 2.5 hours drive away too......

    It's funny though, there's still "old" museums like this in Vietnam.......

    Mons Memorial Museum

    ...and not a TV screen in sight.......I can almost hear JB booking his flights!

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