Elmbridge Museum

What can museum objects tell us about a soldier’s experience of WW1? This is exactly what Elmbridge Museum proposed to explore with children when they launched their ‘Messages from WW1’ project with year 5 and 6 pupils from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Primary School in Weybridge.

In the First World War, many soldiers stationed on the Western Front bought postcards as keepsakes or to send to their loved ones at home. The most popular varieties were silk postcards embroidered with decorations, from flowers to flags, military badges and messages. Elmbridge Museum has a few WW1 silk postcards in their collection and these formed the focus for this project.

The idea was for children to take inspiration from the Museum collection’s postcards to create their own and write a message in the role of a WW1 soldier.

St Charles Borromeo School Children were hard at work this week creating their own original cards after studying the original WW1 silks. The results were well worth the effort. They produced stunning postcards with intricate and elaborate designs that reflected their interest in the topic and attention to detail.

Their postcards, along with originals from Elmbridge Museum, will be exhibited in a week-long temporary exhibition at the school from 22nd November so that children, parents, teachers and the wider school community can look at their work.

Councillor Malcolm Howard, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said, “The silk postcard project gave the children an insight into the life of a WW1 soldier. The quality of the children’s creations clearly demonstrates they paid great attention to the original cards and the moving messages they included. This interactive project is a valuable experience for the children and mirrors Elmbridge Museum’s endeavour to bring history into the heart of schools in a more innovative way. We were delighted to work with St Charles Borromeo School and I look forward to visiting the exhibition when it opens in December to see the children’s wonderful postcards first hand.”

This project forms part of other initiatives developed by Elmbridge Museum to commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1. There are currently two WW1 displays available to the public at the Civic Centre, Esher and at Cobham Library. For  further information, please visit embridgemuseum.org.uk, call 01372 474568 or email ebcmuseum@elmbridge.gov.uk

Date published: 14 November 2018

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