Museum Studies Essays

Museum Studies Essays

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The representation of trauma in the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM) are governed by the cultural context in which they reside. Both institutions offer insightful and deeply moving historical recounts, commemorating those who lost their lives during conflict. Patent parallels can be draw between Charles Bean and John Saunders, founders of the commemorative monuments, as their experiences enabled the remembrance of human loss and trauma.

“The only memorial which could be worthy of them was the bare and uncoloured story of their part in the war.”
– Charles Bean c. 1917

Elected as Australian’s official World War One correspondent, Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean witnessed the most significant battles in Australian history. Deployed in Egypt 1915, infantries were relocated to Gallipoli where he documented his observations on trench warfare. Revising Bean’s literature, the life of a soldier was difficult and abrasive; “the place was terribly thick with dead bodies – and those of Australians couldn’t be told from those of Turks because the faces go so black” . After eight harrowing months in Gallipoli, Bean migrated to the Western Front in France until armistice was declared. During this time Bean had gradually been collecting artefacts, with the hope to create a museum acknowledging the efforts of Australians at war.

The Australian War Memorial opened in Canberra on the 11th of November 1941 where all the “collections grew from the foresight of C.E.W. Bean” . Thousands of relics were collected for the museum, however the most striking objects were the dioramas of warfare, which soon became the museums most treasured series. On Beans request early dioramas were constructed on the site of battlefields,...

... middle of paper ... Anzac: The Digger And National Mythology, University of Queensland Press, 2004, p. 117
- Smith, Ian, Records of War, Australian War Memorial, 1996, p. 5
- Tatz, Colin, Genocide Perspectives II, Brandl & Schlesinger, 2003
- Van der Kolk, Bessel, Traumatic Memories in Trauma and Memory: Clinical and Legal Controversies,
Grinblat, Rebecca, The Future of Memory in Australian Jewish Museums, M.A. Thesis, Monash University, 1998, p. 21
- Garth O'Connell, 2009, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, accessed April 28,
- Author unknown, 2010, Australian War Memorial, accessed March 29,
- Author unknown, 2010, Sydney Jewish Museum, accessed March 29,

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