First World War centenary at Keep Military Museum, Dorchester

Chris Copson, with pupils of Carter Community School

Chris Copson, with pupils of Carter Community School

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

PREPARATIONS for centenary celebrations at the Keep Military Museum are taking shape, with even the First World War soldiers on display getting a makeover.

The Dorchester museum was awarded a grant of £51,900 last year from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help promote a greater understanding of the First World War and to commemorate the huge contribution to the conflict made by the regiments and people of Devon and Dorset.

The finishing touches are now being made ahead of the opening of a new interactive exhibition inside the Keep building on Bridport Road.

An unusual sight greeted visitors to the venue recently as local hairdresser and make-up artist Sian Stone set about giving two models of First World War soldiers a makeover.

Sian was called in to give a more realistic touch to the models, which will feature in the exhibition when it opens later in the summer.

She said she was pleased to have had a role to play in the museum’s centenary celebrations.

Sian said: “I was delighted to play a part in this very important project.

“The men sat very still and were less chatty than my usual clients.

“Visitors to the museum kept popping their heads around the door and were surprised to see me trimming the soldiers wigs.”

In support of the exhibition, the curator of the Keep Military Museum, Chris Copson, is also keen to hear from the families of those involved in the units of Devon and Dorset during the 1914 to 1918 conflict.

He said: “The centenary of the First World War offers us a unique opportunity to collect and share stories of the conflict as well as making sure they are kept for future generations.

“Our staff and volunteers have been working hard researching stories and building the exhibition.”

For more information about the museum and its efforts to mark the centenary visit KeepMilitaryMuseum.org or follow @TheKeepMuseum on Twitter.

Anyone who wants to share the stories of their relatives involved in the conflict can contact curator Mr Copson on 01305 264066.

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