The Great War Exhibition

The Great War Exhibition in Wellington commemorates the role played by New Zealand in the First World War.

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The exhibition is housed in the historic Dominion Museum building above Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. The National Dominion Museum building opened in 1936 and housed the National Museum, the National Art Gallery, and the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. In 1972 the Dominion Museum was renamed the National Museum. The National Museum now known as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is now located on the waterfront.

Filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson has created this exhibition, which explores the story of the First World War.

The main exhibition is the Grand Hall, which covers the period from pre-1914 until the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Visitors will enter the exhibition via a pre-war Belgium street. After this we meet Will, a soldier and we follow his journey. The exhibition features dioramas, large-scale props, historical photographs, authentic artefacts and replicas, including a 10 tonne tank and a 11 tonne gun.

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The second exhibition is the ANZ Room – Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story in Colour. This exhibition focuses on Gallipoli campaign. A highlight is the collection of black and white photographs, which have been colourised and a one hundred square metre diorama, featuring over 5,000 hand-painted figurines depicting the capture on Chunuk Bair on August 8th 1915.

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There are also temporary exhibitions when I visited there was an exhibition on women’s involvement in war, which has now closed. Other past exhibitions included topics, such as Passchendaele, the Middle-East, and conscientious objectors.

A new sensory experience Quinn’s Post Trench Experience has opened since I visited.

There are 45 minute guided tours of the Grand Hall between 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Guided tours are $25 for adults and children are $5. Otherwise general admission is $15 (children under 16 are free). There separate charges for the Trench Experiences, or a combo ticket option available.

I definitely recommend the guided tour and then going back through the Grand Hall at your leisure. I spent just under three hours exploring the exhibition.

The Great War Exhibition is open daily from 9am to 6pm until November 2018 at Dominion Museum Building in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

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