The American Battle Monuments Commission’s first ABMC News Update, July 2016, contained an article describing the renovation work at the cemetery’s Visitor Center. A brief synopsis follows.
Essentially, the first floor is being renovated to create three main interpretive rooms: An entrance room, a campaign gallery and a commemorative gallery.
The entrance room “is being returned to its original design from the 1920s… The original design of this room intentionally mimicked the look of a parlor in the attempt to create a welcoming space for grieving mothers, widows, and families.”
The campaign gallery “will include a battlefield experience film, showing some of the challenges and horrors men faced in World War 1.”
The commemorative gallery, on the other hand, “connotes reflection, giving the visitor the opportunity to take in the expanse of the cemetery via the original windows, while learning about the individuals buried or memorialized there.”
The exhibits will emphasize how a relatively inexperienced American army fought against a seasoned enemy. They will emphasize that men from all walks of life fought as part of the American forces; as well as the extreme bravery and courage in a campaign that generated more than 50 Medal of Honor recipients.
Work is expected to be completed and the building is expected to reopen in late 2016. The inside renovation work is nearly complete; but the exhibits need to be installed. Externally, the doors and shutters have been replaced to make the visitor center appear when it was built in the 1920s.
The webmaster can’t wait to see the completed job. He finds the concept of returning the reception room to its original 1920s style quite intriguing; and he is anxious to see the new exhibits (which will likely use more modern technologies to reach out to new generations.)
Note: The ABMC has just started its ABMC News Update in July 2016. Readers can subscribe to it very easily on the website https://www.abmc.gov.