My final project is going well and I believe that I am making a lot of progress. My topic for a brief overview is concerned with the Great War and Historical Memory through monuments and memorials. I envision my project as a lesson plan for college students comparing and contrasting WWI memorials by asking historical questions. The first page of my Omeka site allows students to take a virtual field trip to the National WWI Museum and Memorial and the Imperial War Museum through their websites. My next few pages ask students to break out into groups and consider symbols and allegories of memorials and think about the global context of specific nations before, during, and after they created their memorials. I believe there are various other ways I could engage my target audience such as comparing the size and scope of monuments as well as looking at the context behind their creation. How do memorials present a way to learn about the past? How does it depict what a nation values or how they honor fallen soldiers?

My intended audience is college-age students given the depth of the subject matter. The intended purpose of the project is to allow students to obtain a deeper global perspective of other nations through the study of WWI monuments and memorials. I believe that by studying memorials, students can obtain a glimpse into the window of a nations’ psyche and analyze what they were thinking and feeling when the monuments were created.

My next steps include uploading the remainder of my sources. The problem I have encountered is how to pick what specific memorials as there are tens of thousands of memorials and monuments to the Great War. I decided to include a list of approximately 70 memorials that encompass museums, cemeteries, monuments, and other buildings or historical plaques. My finished list may be greater or smaller. I also envision creating a list for further reading which will include scholarly books and websites for students to obtain more information not just on WWI Monuments and Memorials, but on the larger Great War.

The main challenge that I have encountered is how to engage my audience through memorials. I like how I began with comparing two websites along with other ideas and then transitioned into the idea of “now that you know how to compare and contrast memorials, pick two more and begin.” I really want to encourage collaboration between students and professors. I intended this lesson to be suitable for college students over the age of 18 but a broader study of the Great War could be modified for younger audiences depending on the subject matter. When I met with Alex Furlong, she suggested that to think of the US and the UK through geography. How did their geography in relation to mainland Europe influence their war efforts? Did geography shape how they chose to design memorials? The United States and the UK have been constantly at war with other nations. Did this impact their ideas of memorials? How did the UK’s position as an island nation influence its war or memorialization efforts?

I believe that I have begun to resolve the above challenge by having students work in groups collaboratively by asking historical questions. The study of war memorials is a very solemn undertaking. War is always a tragedy and I need to find a way to have students grasp the realities of war and how that has influenced a nation’s memorialization efforts. I think that by using the idea of symbols, allegories, and politics I have encouraged future students to ask new questions about different nations and what citizens were thinking, feeling, and debating when it came time to memorialize the Great War.

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