Author: Lucy Brown, Museum Assistant

This year (2022) marks the 40th Anniversary of the Falklands conflict, which began with the Argentinian invasion on 2 April 1982. The Museum’s digital exhibition “Remembering the Falklands: 40 Years On” explores the experiences of REME personnel during the conflict and serving on the islands in the following years.

Developing a digital exhibition turned out to be a very different experience to producing a physical exhibition. One of the main differences was the types of material we can display. Our multimedia interactive table can hold various types of digital media files including images, video and audio. This means we can include digital copies of physical objects and documents, as well as digital materials in their original formatThe best part is that visitors will be able to interact with material that would otherwise be off-limits, behind a case.

A table with screen on the tabletop against a wall with two panels, dark blue backgrounds and white text. The left panel title reads "Remembering the Falklands 40 years on ". The right panel title reads "Everything Changed ".

Our initial vision for the Falklands exhibitions, situated in our Remembrance Gallery.

We decided to make the most of the opportunities provided by the programme on the table. For example, one aspect of the exhibition is an interactive map. The user can move around the map to find information and photographs, helping to bring to life the landscape of the conflict. Visitors are able to magnify images for a closer look, an opportunity we lack when viewing print photographs.

Someone's arm pointing at a digital world map on a large screen

Creating the interactive map involved ‘hotspots’, locating the media to a point on the map. This hotspot opens to an interview of Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Ian Corroyer REME, who travelled to the islands on LSL Sir Lancelot.

Yet making the exhibition digital did not change everything about the development process. One of the hardest parts was deciding what to include and what not to include. Museum professionals know this is a common dilemma in any exhibition development. Within our collection we have a vast array of material relating to Operation Corporate. Our archives include operational diaries, journal articles, photographs and more from the conflict. Plus, our object collection includes the Volvo Bandvagn (BV) 202 (also known as a Snowcat), with which many who served at the time will be familiar.

We decided to centre the exhibition on the experiences of the REME personnel who served during and after the conflict. In particular, we focus on the ingenuity of REME Officers and Soldiers to overcome organisational difficulties and adverse environmental conditions. We also explore the legacy of the conflict on the islands and the Corps’ continued role. Our final, and possibly most important focus, is on those who gave their lives in this conflict. Thanks to the digital format, we were able to create virtual copies of Orders of Service. These are displayed alongside photographs and information on the lives and service of the men themselves.

An order of service, first page is red with black text reading "Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces, Falkland Islands Memorial 16th June 1996", second page has a list of names from 3 Para.

The Order of Service from a memorial service for the soldiers of 3 Parachute Regiment who died in the Falklands, 16 June 1996. E:08.0079.12.

Thanks to the digital format, we are able to host an external exhibition alongside our own. “Everything Changed” is a photographic exhibition that shows a Falklander’s perspective of the conflict, from invasion and occupation though to liberation and aftermath. It was created by Graham Bound, who was born on the Falkland Islands and was a journalist when Argentine forces invaded. During occupation, Bound realised he would not be able to freely publish in his newspaper 'Penguin News'. As a result, he recorded everything in journals and through photographs.  We are delighted to be able to share a digital version of his very unique exhibition. The physical prints were displayed in The Falkland Islands Museum, Stanley.

Black and white image of men standing around with damaged buildings and debris all over the place, foggy background

An image from Bound’s exhibition. “Defeated but not yet in captivity, Argentine soldiers ran amok through Stanley on the night of 14/15 June, burning buildings and threatening their own officers. As British troops take control, the Argentines become prisoners of war.” © Graham Bound.

Both exhibitions opened on 21 April 2022, the anniversary of the first landings of British troops on South Georgia. Visit and take a look at our first digital exhibition now, or find out about our current exhibitions.