Outside the Classroom Walls: Understanding War and Peace on the Western Front

  • Caroline Winter
Part of the Tourism, Hospitality & Event Management book series (THEM)


A sample of 197 tourists, comprised mainly of older, Australian, Belgian and British nationalities was selected at two Great War (1914–1918) museums in Belgium and France. Questionnaires were used to collect data about visitors’ attitudes towards war museums and military cemeteries. An exploratory factor analysis of items designed to measure the purpose of military cemeteries extracted three factors: desire to visit (military cemeteries), understanding and remembrance. The study supports the notion that “getting outside” enhances understanding at these sites, in addition to the opportunities provided by more formal places, such as a museum and the classroom. This must be considered within the context of the battlefields, where the ‘evidence’ of war has been removed, and interpretation of the landscape is difficult without prior knowledge. Visitors were positive about visiting military cemeteries, seeing them as interesting, meaningful and important memorials. Different tests produced somewhat conflicting results, about the association of peace and understanding the war at the cemeteries, thus supporting other studies. Overall, the study supports the mutually reinforcing nature of formal and informal educational experiences in understanding the Great War.


Military cemeteries understanding museums On-site learning Peace 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William Angliss InstituteMelbourneAustralia

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