As soon as we landed in Wellington and dropped off our luggage we scrambled over to Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. I was eager for my son Ethan to see the Galipoli exhibit there.
It’s one of the most amazingly designed and executed exhibits I’ve ever seen in a museum.
The The 2.5x life scale models created by Weta Workshop are the most amazing things I’ve seen. So lifelike you can see every pore and you wait for them to breathe. On my second visit to this exhibit I was able to take in much more of the information. A path along the floor marked the timeline and loss of life during this campaign to take rugged mountain ranges in Turkey.
The models were only a part of a multi media presentation of that campaign. Graphic arts were used alongside extensive written material and photos, videos, and models.
Boys across the country were trained so they would be ready for when it was their turn to join the effort. This photo breaks my heart.
And it wasn’t just casualties from the fighting… so many died of illnesses and disease.
And again, the presentation had information presented in so many different ways. This recreation of a supply center (all were dug into tunnels and trenches in these desert mountainsides) had drawers that you could pull out and see things such as the Anzak bread (hardtac – dried flour crackers) that was so hard many broke their teeth on them.
The exhibit included the story of the Maori regiments, who like African American soldiers, had to fight for the right to join the armies and were in segregated regiments.
The presentation of these scenes with such realism on such a large scale sinks to your core as you realize the scale of the loss among the Kiwi and Australian regiments sent to Galipoli in WWI.
The entire exhibit broke my heart. War is always, always, always a disaster when it comes to it’s human cost.