The Royal Engineers Museum once again pays tribute to those who fought in World War I and in conflicts since, by taking part in the 5,000 Poppies project. Following on from the overwhelming success of 2017, the Museum is covered in hand-crafted poppies made by members of the local community. People of all ages have taken part in the community project, from 5 to 100 years old; coming together to remember the fallen.
Coordinated by Medway Fun Palaces and Nucleus Arts, 5,000 Poppies began in 2013 as a tribute by two Australian women, Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight, to honour their fathers who both fought in World War II. The project has taken off since then, and is now an international phenomenon. Along with other partners in Medway, the Royal Engineers Museum has held dedicated workshops and family activity sessions, engaging the local community to contribute to the displays.
The official opening event will take place at 4pm on Thursday 8 November. The Museum will welcome the Bishop of Rochester, Bishop James Langstaff, and Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, and Minister for Loneliness. The opening event will include heritage partners as well as some of the local people who have contributed to the exhibition.
Rebecca Nash, Museum Director, said “We were delighted to join other Medway partners in taking part in the 5,000 Poppies project again this year. We have been overwhelmed by the response from local people, who have fallen over themselves to be part of this fantastic community project. The poppies are a reminder of the sacrifice that was made by so many, and we are particularly pleased to see the number of young people who have been involved in this project”.
Stella Duffy, Co-Director of Fun Palaces, said “Fun Palaces is all about shining a light on, and supporting, grassroots and inclusive cultural action happening across the UK and internationally, with half a million people taking part in the past five years. We have been thrilled to see the enormous growth of Nucleus Arts’ poppy project, from its beginning as part of their Fun Palace, involving a huge number of community members and bringing local people together in an act which has both commemoration and community-connection at its core”.
The poppy displays will be available to see between 6 November and 21 December. Also available to see until 21 December, is the Museum’s VC: For Valour – Sapper VCs of the First World War display – a Heritage Lottery Funded exhibition which tells the moving story of ten Victoria Cross recipients from the First World War.
The Museum tells the story of the Royal Engineers and how they have helped the British Army live, move and fight for over 300 years. It is Kent’s largest military museum with highlights including 25 Victoria Crosses, Wellington’s map of Waterloo, a huge section of the Berlin wall, Zulu War weapons, amazing bridge-laying tanks, a Harrier Jump Jet and an enormous V2 Rocket. With interactive exhibits, indoor and outdoor play areas, and a newly refurbished café and gift shop, there’s plenty for all the family whatever the weather.
The Museum is open from 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm) Tuesdays to Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays – full details can be found in the visiting section.