The Caen-Normandy Memorial Centre for History and Peace is better known as Mémorial de Caen. That’s just what it is; a museum, an educational resource, a look at the past and a warning for the future.
The Mémorial de Caen features a museum, war memorial, underground Nazi bunker and sprawling memorial gardens. It’s situated to the north of the city centre of Caen in Normandy, occupying the site of a former blockhouse. The building architect was Jacques Millet and the museum’s original curator was Yves Degraine.
Dedicated to conflict and its resolution, the museum guides visitors throughout the 20th century. Your visit begins with the ‘Failure of Peace’ in the interwar period from 1918 to 1939.
A brief history of Mémorial de Caen
The museum first opened on 6th June 1988 – the 44th anniversary of D-Day). French President François Mitterrand conducted the ceremony. The original building dealt the causes and effects of World War II.
The curators have laid out the total history of the Second World War in great detail. Conflict in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific features alongside the story of the Normandy invasion.
In 1991, the museum unveiled a gallery dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize. Three memorial gardens, American, British, and Canadian were dedicated the victorious Allies. In 2002, the museum was further extended. French President Jacques Chirac opened the Cold War sector.
Beyond that, the Mémorial de Caen displays focus on the Cold War and nuclear hostilities between USA and USSR. Some of the highlights include neutralised warheads and a piece of the Berlin Wall.
The Mémorial de Caen museum caters to all ages and everyone from curious tourist to the avid history buff. Thousands of items including photo and video archives make it a memorable and interactive experience.