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The remodeled Verdun Memorial Museum at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France. The glass-enclosed top floor was added to the structure during a two-year remodeling. Revamped static displays and the addition of audio/visuals make the museum a must for  those interested in World War I. First opened in 1967, it reopened in February 2016 in time for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the World War I battle, Feb. 21, 1916.

The remodeled Verdun Memorial Museum at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France. The glass-enclosed top floor was added to the structure during a two-year remodeling. Revamped static displays and the addition of audio/visuals make the museum a must for those interested in World War I. First opened in 1967, it reopened in February 2016 in time for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the World War I battle, Feb. 21, 1916. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

The remodeled Verdun Memorial Museum at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France. The glass-enclosed top floor was added to the structure during a two-year remodeling. Revamped static displays and the addition of audio/visuals make the museum a must for  those interested in World War I. First opened in 1967, it reopened in February 2016 in time for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the World War I battle, Feb. 21, 1916.

The remodeled Verdun Memorial Museum at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France. The glass-enclosed top floor was added to the structure during a two-year remodeling. Revamped static displays and the addition of audio/visuals make the museum a must for those interested in World War I. First opened in 1967, it reopened in February 2016 in time for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the World War I battle, Feb. 21, 1916. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Exhibits at the Verdun Memorial Museum trace the history of the war and the 300 days of the Battle of Verdun. The remodeled museum, featuring  revamped static displays and the addition of audio/visuals, reopened in February 2016, in time for the anniversary of the beginning of the World War I battle, Feb. 21, 1916.

Exhibits at the Verdun Memorial Museum trace the history of the war and the 300 days of the Battle of Verdun. The remodeled museum, featuring revamped static displays and the addition of audio/visuals, reopened in February 2016, in time for the anniversary of the beginning of the World War I battle, Feb. 21, 1916. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Inside the exhibit at the Verdun Memorial Museum. At the station in the foreground you can listen to what people felt and thought when the German bombardment began at the Battle of Verdun, Feb. 21, 1916. At the newly remodeled museum the audio is in French, English and German, French videos have English and German subtitles and almost all of the static exhibits are labeled in all three languages.

Inside the exhibit at the Verdun Memorial Museum. At the station in the foreground you can listen to what people felt and thought when the German bombardment began at the Battle of Verdun, Feb. 21, 1916. At the newly remodeled museum the audio is in French, English and German, French videos have English and German subtitles and almost all of the static exhibits are labeled in all three languages. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A World War I German infantry Pickelhaube -- spiked helmet -- on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum.

A World War I German infantry Pickelhaube -- spiked helmet -- on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A display of soldiers' items and equipment on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum, which is located on the World War I battlefield. To expand what can be displayed, visitors can pull out drawers that hold more items, like these magazines and pamphlets.

A display of soldiers' items and equipment on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum, which is located on the World War I battlefield. To expand what can be displayed, visitors can pull out drawers that hold more items, like these magazines and pamphlets. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Artillery on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum. Artillery played a major role in the World War I Battle of Verdun. At left is a German 10.5 cm field howitzer, at right a French 155mm C gun short-muzzle howitzer.

Artillery on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum. Artillery played a major role in the World War I Battle of Verdun. At left is a German 10.5 cm field howitzer, at right a French 155mm C gun short-muzzle howitzer. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Images projected on the topography of the Verdun battlefield show how the front lines changed over the course of the battle.

Images projected on the topography of the Verdun battlefield show how the front lines changed over the course of the battle. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A graphic on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum show the range of different French and German weapons used in the Battle of Verdun, with the red line at center representing the front line.

A graphic on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum show the range of different French and German weapons used in the Battle of Verdun, with the red line at center representing the front line. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A visitor stands in front of the battlefield display at the Verdun Memorial Museum. In the foreground are various weapons used, while videos and photos projected on the large screens show explosions, soldiers crawling through the trenches and the aftermath. Visitors can put on headphones to  listen to the sounds of the carnage.

A visitor stands in front of the battlefield display at the Verdun Memorial Museum. In the foreground are various weapons used, while videos and photos projected on the large screens show explosions, soldiers crawling through the trenches and the aftermath. Visitors can put on headphones to listen to the sounds of the carnage. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

The dead of the Battle of Verdun can be seen in photographs in a gap between walls of a display at the Verdun Memorial Museum at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France.

The dead of the Battle of Verdun can be seen in photographs in a gap between walls of a display at the Verdun Memorial Museum at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Inside the Verdun Memorial Museum. First opened in 1967, the museum has been completely renovated with an extra floor added on top. The content has been reworked also, with more audio/visual exhibits. The museum reopened in February 2016, in time for the anniversary of the beginning of the World War I battle, Feb. 21, 1916.

Inside the Verdun Memorial Museum. First opened in 1967, the museum has been completely renovated with an extra floor added on top. The content has been reworked also, with more audio/visual exhibits. The museum reopened in February 2016, in time for the anniversary of the beginning of the World War I battle, Feb. 21, 1916. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A portable chess set used by soldiers during the Battle of Verdun is one of nearly 2,000 items on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum.

A portable chess set used by soldiers during the Battle of Verdun is one of nearly 2,000 items on display at the Verdun Memorial Museum. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Life-size models of French and German warplanes hang from the ceiling over the battlefield display at the Verdun Memorial Museum. The museum at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France, is situated on the site of the World War I battle.

Life-size models of French and German warplanes hang from the ceiling over the battlefield display at the Verdun Memorial Museum. The museum at Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France, is situated on the site of the World War I battle. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Although the American military didn't participate in the 1916 Battle of Verdun -- they didn't join World War I until 1917 -- they did fight nearby later in the war. But there are a couple of exhibits dedicated to Americans in the Verdun Memorial Museum.

Although the American military didn't participate in the 1916 Battle of Verdun -- they didn't join World War I until 1917 -- they did fight nearby later in the war. But there are a couple of exhibits dedicated to Americans in the Verdun Memorial Museum. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Artillery craters still scar the World War I Verdun battlefield and what was once the village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont, a short distance from the Verdun Memorial Museum. The Battle of Verdun, which lasted 300 days, began Feb. 21, 1916, and left many villages destroyed, more than 300,000 people dead and 400,000 wounded.

Artillery craters still scar the World War I Verdun battlefield and what was once the village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont, a short distance from the Verdun Memorial Museum. The Battle of Verdun, which lasted 300 days, began Feb. 21, 1916, and left many villages destroyed, more than 300,000 people dead and 400,000 wounded. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

The World War I battle of Verdun lasted 300 days and left more than 300,000 people dead and 400,000 wounded. A century later, the earth is still scarred with craters made by incoming shells.

On this bloody battleground stands the Verdun Memorial Museum, which, after a two-year renovation, reopened in February in time for the 100th anniversary of the start of the battle.

The museum, established in 1967, has been completely remodeled with more audio-visual exhibits to go along with the static displays and an added third floor used as a documentation center, classroom and temporary exhibit space.

On the ground floor, the exhibit begins with the history of the Great War, then concentrates on the Battle of Verdun. The second floor focuses on life during wartime for soldiers and civilians, plus military aviation — at the time, a new twist to war.

The first audio-visual display has witnesses’ descriptions of the opening bombardment of Verdun by German artillery on Feb. 21, 1916.

Images projected on the topo-graphy of the Verdun battlefield show how the front lines changed over the course of the battle. Other exhibits on this floor show artillery, rifles, pistols, bayonets and even a field kitchen.

Also on display are the personal items soldiers carried into battle. Visitors can pull out drawers in the display cases that hold even more items, such as magazines and pamphlets.

The centerpiece of the museum is the battlefield display. In the foreground are various weapons used, while videos and photos projected on large screens show the progression of the battle from before it began to the aftermath with its shattered landscape. Images include explosions, soldiers crawling through the trenches and rescuing wounded. Audio is provided through headphones.

Hanging from the ceiling are two full-size models of French and German warplanes, which can be better viewed from the second floor.

Daily life exhibits on the second floor range from games soldiers played — chess, checkers, cards — to the food they ate. Religion on the battlefield is covered, as is life on the home front, the missing and how the dead were buried. The work by the medical corps is also highlighted, including an American volunteer ambulance squad.

The battle ended on Dec. 19, 1916, but the war would last almost two more years. The United States entered the war in 1917, and in September 1918, Americans fought two battles in the Verdun area. Their contributions to ending the war, at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, are also marked in the exhibit.

abrams.mike@stripes.com

Verdun Memorial MuseumDIRECTIONS

The Verdun Memorial Museum, 1, Avenue du Corps Europeen, 55101 Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France. The museum is about 135 miles from Kaiserslautern, roughly a 2½-hour drive. Take Autobahn A6 to the French border and then follow signs to Metz, then Paris on France A4. Exit at Verdun and follow signs to Champ de bataille Vaux-Douaumont.

NOTE

Be sure to take your passport with you. There can be checks at the German-French border.

TIMES

Open daily 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 1 to Nov. 13; and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 14 to March 30.

COSTS

Admission is 11 euros (about $12.60) for adults, 7 euros for children age 6 to 17 , kids under 6 get in free. A family pass for two adults and two children is 25 euros, additional kids pay 7 euros. Parking is free. French road tolls are 18.80 euros round trip.

FOOD

There are coffee and cold drink vending machines on the top floor, but no food. Nearby Verdun has plenty of cafes and restaurants.

INFORMATION

The museum’s website, at the moment only in French, is memorial-verdun.fr, the Verdun city site isen.verdun-tourisme.com. To read more about Verdun and the battle, go to www.stripes.com/travel/verdun-france-site-stands-as-monument-to-bloody-wwi-battle-1.273775


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