The site and its history

Founded in 1992 in the heart of the battlefields of the Somme, the museum lies within the grounds of a 13th -century castle, an eternal emblem of the town of Péronne and its long history of sieges.
The permanent exhibition devoted to the Great War is housed in a contemporary building designed by architect Henri-Édouard Ciriani.

The 13th-century Château de Péronne is a medieval fortress in the Philippine style, constructed during the reign of Philip Augustus. Standing watch over a strategically-important route, the castle, and the town of Péronne itself, have evolved with the ebb and flow of alliances and conflicts. Besieged on several occasions over the centuries, the castle suffered considerably during the First World War, and was in fact largely destroyed.
Rebuilt and restructured after the end of the Great War, the castle has retained its original contours, although its towers have never been fully reconstructed.

The architecture of the Historial reflects its vocation: to provide a new angle on the history of the Great War, without focusing solely on the battles. In dialogue with the medieval grandeur of the Château de Péronne, the crisp contours of the new building lend the museum a timeless feel, a mark of deference to the immense tragedy of the Great War.

The museum is located on the banks of the Etang du Cam lake, an oasis of greenery in the centre of Péronne. The gardens which now occupy the castle’s moat and courtyard, designed by landscape architect Peter Donegan, further magnify the beauty of this unique space.