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Portsmouth historian curates WWI exhibition

Dr Brad Beaven researching Portsmouth City Museum’s WW1 collection

A new exhibition to commemorate the First World War is being guest curated by University of Portsmouth historian Dr Brad Beaven.

Lest We Forget will give an insight into the lives of servicemen and women who served their country, and the civilians who supported the war effort at home.

It is the centre-piece event of Portsmouth City Council’s WW1 centenary programme and starts tomorrow at Portsmouth City Museum.

Dr Beaven, Dr Mel Bassett and a team of history students researched archives at the museum for material.

The collection includes photographs, documents, medals, memorials, certificates of thanks, commemorative and war effort items, as well as gifts to servicemen provided by Princess Mary.

Dr Beaven said: “Work for the exhibition began earlier in the year when we put a call out to our own students, community groups and schools for help researching the collection.

“The response was fantastic and we’ve had a really impressive level of community engagement – from groups uncovering personal experiences of the war to choirs singing contemporary war songs for the exhibition.”

The University of Portsmouth, in partnership with the Portsmouth City Museum, was awarded £97,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Lest We Forget project.

Dr Beaven said: “We really want visitors to come along and get involved. Research hubs have been set-up to allow people to research names of individuals and objects in the collection. With over 200 names in the exhibition we have gaps in our knowledge and we want to encourage visitors to add to our growing collection of personal stories.”

Portsmouth people can also get involved remotely by adding details of their ancestors to the Tale of One City Community History website. They can also add details of WW1 projects to the website under the topics and places section.

Lest We Forget runs from 19 July 2014 to 25 January 2015.

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