Whatever your subject, the Arromanches Landing Museum is not to be missed on a school trip to Normandy. It brings to life a pivotal moment in 20th century history and a turning point in the Second World War.
Troops avoided landing at Arromanches itself, to keep it clear for the Mulberry harbour that was brought here from southern England. The Mulberry harbours were a temporary port that allowed cargo to be quickly offloaded on to the beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
And the Arromanches Landing Museum currently overlooks the site of the Mulberry harbour and opened 10 years (almost to the day) after D-Day. However, it will be moving to new premises, with updated exhibits in 2019.
The museum consists of four sections. The first is a gallery of working models to illustrate how the Mulberry harbours functioned.
Then there is a diorama which has been designed to bring the events of the early hours of D-Day to life.
There’s a section which looks at the Allied nations that took part in the Landings – your students will be able to see uniforms and medals from each of the Allies.
Groups are usually provided with a guided tour of these first three sections.
Finally, there’s a cinema where your group can watch archive footage that further explains the design, construction and operation of the Mulberry harbours.
This is a visit that will really bring to life the huge effort that was involved in the Landings, and the ingenuity and innovation required to construct these temporary ports that would allow supplies to be fed in to support the invasion.
Arromanches Mulberry harbour became known as Port Winston, after Churchill and was in service for five months. Over the course of that five months, 2.5 million men, 4 million tonnes of supplies and 500,000 vehicles arrived in France via Port Winston.
Yes, this is a visit that works fantastically well for history groups studying World War 2, or even the history of warfare. But it really is a fascinating visit for any group and essential if you want your students to understand the historical significance of this corner of Normandy.