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Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

War, Memory, Trauma Exhibition

The exhibition focused on four related themes: the emotional effects of battle, civilians at war, 'From Shell Shock to PTSD', and memories of war. Using photographs, archive documents, social history objects, literature and media depictions, the exhibition captured traumatic experiences and stories of war, providing a window into a 'special' world that for many is impossible to imagine and fully understand. Coventry's experience of the Blitz provided a local case study to explore the devastating impact of war on the civilian population, focusing in particular on the anxiety, fear and stress generated by the threat of attack.

Previous Launch Day Events

'Collection Conversations': visitors had the chance to handle social history objects related to the theme of the exhibition and discuss, with one of the curators, the stories behind the objects. Objects from the museum's collections included, a child's gas mask, incendiary bomb, Boer War chocolate tin, and ARP warden's helmet.
Memory Exchange: two speakers from Veterans Contact Point shared their experiences of military life and active service in recent conflicts (Falklands, Bosnia and Afghanistan). Podcast  (Audio clip) The speakers brough along photographs, equipment and items of uniform for the public to handle and discuss.

Poetry Reading: to mark the launch of the poetry collection, 'War, Memory, Trauma', a collaboration with Stoke Park School and Community Technology College and Nine Arches Press, a selection of poems were displayed in the Peace and Reconciliation Gallery. Several members of the Centre for the History of Medicine (Claire Sewell, Grace Huxford and Dr Sarah York), together with Jane Commane (Nine Arches Press) read poems from the collection.

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Public Talk

In association with the exhibition, Dr Sarah York gave a public talk at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. The talk entitled, 'Memories and Emotions: Discovering the Soldier's Perspective of War', explored how soldiers cope with the stresses of modern warfare, and how they remember their individual experiences through personal narrative.