The National Army Museum, the Museum of Somerset and Somerset Military Museum have joined forces to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
The new exhibition draws on a host of artefacts from the London-based museum’s rich collections, while other objects have come from collections cared for by the South West Heritage Trust. Included in the exhibition are works of art, military items and even hair from Napoleon’s famous horse, Marengo. Together the objects tell the personal stories of soldiers and their families, and the legacy that the battle left behind in the lives of so many people.
The Battle of Waterloo was crucial in Britain’s history. It took place on a sodden field in Belgium on 18 June 1815 when the Duke of Wellington and his forces halted the advance of the French Army. The battle marked the end of Napoleon’s domination of Europe and heralded a long period of peace.
Janice Murray, Director General of the National Army Museum, said: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting this unique exhibition together, and want as many people as possible to engage with the personal stories that were shaped by the battle and its aftermath.”
Tom Mayberry, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust, said: “We’re very pleased to have had the opportunity to work in partnership with the National Army Museum. The exhibition will allow individuals and families to learn more about one of the turning-points in our history.”
The National Army Museum, in partnership with the Waterloo 200 Charity, Culture 24 and the Heritage Lottery Fund, has also recently launched Waterloo200.org as a central website for all Waterloo commemorative events this year. The website features an online gallery of 200 unique Waterloo artefacts, including the Duke of Wellington’s boots, an eagle standard captured in the battle and the original blood-stained saw used to amputate the Earl of Uxbridge’s leg.
The ‘Waterloo Lives’ exhibition is part of the National Army Museum’s ‘Building for the Future’ project, which has been generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The exhibition runs at the museum until 4 July. The museum is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (last entry 4.30 pm). Admission is free.