How do you tell the story of Australia’s involvement in the First World War?
How do you do it justice and engage people?
You hit them in the feels, that’s how.
The ‘official’ description of the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience (touring Australia currently) is that it “follows a chronological timeline spanning the period from pre-First World War Australia to the present day, using a mix of visuals, artefacts, audio and film to engage visitors.”
Well sure, it does that. It does that very well.
But it’s the little details, the powerful visuals, and the personal stories that bring it to life.
Well, for me anyway.
A few weeks on, and I can still remember the name of the ‘youngest Anzac’ (James Martin). He was only 14 when he died and is commemorated at the Lone Pine Cemetery.
A few weeks on, and I can still hear the voice of the man in the trenches. I can still see his face as his thoughts were verbalised, the sounds of gunfire ever-present.
A few weeks on, and I can still recall the respectful ‘stillness’ of other visitors as they observed and listened. And the impact that some parts of the exhibition in particular seemed to have on them.
A few weeks on, and I can still remember the moment of walking into the ‘Lest We Forget’ gallery. How I stopped to take it all in, and how the music inspired quiet reflection and remembrance.
But most of all, I can still remember how I felt.
There is power in storytelling, and when it results in all the feels, you know it’s been done well.
Lest we forget.