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past event - exhibition

Wartime schooldays, 1914-1918

January 25th — April 20th 2014

In partnership with the town’s archive department in the framework of the First World War commemorations.

The starting point for this exhibition was an exceptional collection of documents conserved at the municipal archives of Nantes, detailing the activities of the city’s public primary schools from 1914 to 1918. These reports were the project of wartime mayor, Paul Bellamy, and describe the repercussions of the war on teaching. Illustrated through a selection of the best drawings and assignments, they offer an account of the ideological education of Nantes’ youth during WWI.

From the very first day of the 1914 school year, the curriculum was modified: French, math, geography, and physical education become the vectors of a wartime culture. The children of Nantes mixed with war invalids, shared their schools with military personnel and their toys with refugee children from regions that had been invaded.

In order to express the magnitude of the attempt to win over hearts and minds, the exhibition displayed the content of these reports (assignments, drawings, photographs) alongside posters, postcards, youth literature, songs, toys…

Curators: Réjane Burki (Nantes history museum), Véronique Guitton et Delphine Gillardin (Archives municipales de Nantes)

Scénography: Jérôme Houadec – Effets secondaires

Poster of the exhibition