Large format. Arromanches-les-Bains: the former D-Day museum has closed its doors

On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, the former D-Day museum closed its doors for good. Before reopening in another building planned for mid-March, it was time to say goodbye.

Frédéric Sommier, director of the Landing Museum, Gwenn Jeffroy, vice-prefect of Bayeux, Charlotte Triboulet, great-granddaughter of Raymond Triboulet, Marcel Bastide, mayor of Arromanches, Jean Quétier, president of the Landing Committee, during the closing of the gate, Tuesday, November 1, 2022. ©Philippe JAUTEE

Tuesday 1er November 2022, at the end of the afternoon, the people of Arromanches were invited for a final visit to the Landing Museum, inaugurated in 1954. More than 400 people attended. “The first time I visited, I was nine years old,” explains an Arromachaise.

“At the time, I was fascinated by the mobile model. Since then we have taken the kids there, but also friends. It is a small museum where there are many very didactic things. »

A visitor to the Landing Museum, resident of Arromanches

The soul of the museum

“This museum has a soul”, considers its director Frédéric Sommier, who knows its nostalgia. “It is still the first museum built to commemorate and welcome what were called pilgrims at the time. I think that this spirit is derived from this advantage, that it is not transposable and that it will leave with this building. »

“We will recreate another spirit in the next museum. »

Frédéric Sommier, director of the Landing Museum
Many residents of Arromanche responded to the invitation for the last visit before the closure.
Many residents of Arromanche responded to the invitation for the last visit to the Landing Museum before closing on Tuesday November 1, 2022. ©Philippe JAUTEE

Mayor Marcel Bastide, who was five years old when this museum was inaugurated, felt on Tuesday evening “a great emotion, a little sadness” but also “a great joy for the future” because of “the construction of a new museum , with the same things in it as digital, virtual reality, things that will interest young people more”.

For Patrick Jardin, the former mayor of Arromanches, seeing this site returned was “a lot of excitement”, but “a lot of joy too, because we will have a new museum, which will take over the collections”. According to the former mayor, the new museum will bring “a new vitality to the visitors”: “you have to know how to evolve, understand that you need something new and you will have a very beautiful museum. I wish him the same success. »

Key given to great-granddaughter

Resistance fighter Raymond Triboulet (1906 – 2006), founder of the Landing Committee, also founded the Landing Museum a few years later, inaugurated on June 5, 1954. On Tuesday evening, the doors were closed in the presence of some of his descendants.

For Charlotte Triboulet, who was given the key to the gate, it is “a beautiful tribute” to her great-grandfather. A bar manager in Arromanches, she is used to advising the museum to her customers: “it’s really about the D-Day landings and it represents all nationalities”. His father, Christophe Triboulet, notes that “children understand thanks to models”. For him, entering the diorama room for the last time is especially touching, because there he hears his grandfather’s voice. “This museum has allowed Bayeux and its region to develop,” says Christophe Triboulet.

Charlotte Triboulet, great-granddaughter of Raymond Triboulet, and Christophe Triboulet, grandson of Raymond Triboulet, during their recent visit to the Landing Museum.
Charlotte Triboulet, great-granddaughter of Raymond Triboulet, and Christophe Triboulet, grandson of Raymond Triboulet, during a recent visit to the former Landing Museum, Tuesday, November 1, 2022. ©Philippe JAUTEE

Jean Quétier, president of the Landing Committee, praised “a popular closing, which shows how much the local population is connected to the task of memory and to the institutions that are in their commune”.

“Raymond Triboulet had a rather broad vision of the commemorative aspect of the D-Day landings and what it generated afterwards. »

Jean Quétier, President of the Landing Committee

Reuniting with former colleagues

Former staff members came for the last visit. “It’s nice to meet you again,” confesses a former employee. “I don’t know if I will want to see when the walls of this museum come down. I will shed my little tear. Another insists on the connection with “befriended veterans”: “We know the actors of this story, it is up to us to transmit it humbly”. Gérard Legout, former director of the institution, recalls a “great team of staff who had faith, a great atmosphere”.

Gérard Legout, former director of the D-Day Museum, surrounded by former staff members.
Gérard Legout, former director of the D-Day Museum, surrounded by former staff members. ©Philippe JAUTEE

“An Object of History”

The evening continued in the village hall where speeches were given. Mayor Marcel Bastide particularly recalled the history of the museum. Vice Prefect Gwenn Jeffroy then spoke: “The museum itself is an object of history. It is the first museum dedicated to the D-Day operations to be established in the department of Calvados. More than 20 million visitors have walked it since 1954 and your city remains an emblematic place where the impression of the D-Day landings is indelible. »

” […] Because memory is preserved, it is now necessary to modernize the museum’s facilities without distorting either the site or the original spirit of this project led by my distinguished predecessor, Subprefect Raymond Triboulet. »

Gwenn Jeffroy, sub-prefect of the district of Bayeux
Charlotte Triboulet, great-granddaughter of Raymond Triboulet, and Gwenn Jeffroy, sub-prefect of the district of Bayeux.
Charlotte Triboulet, great-granddaughter of Raymond Triboulet, and Gwenn Jeffroy, sub-prefect of the district of Bayeux. ©Philippe JAUTEE

On this evening’s occasion, three staff members, who were exercising their right to pension, received a bouquet as thanks for 38, 36 and 34 years of service.

The packing of the collections began the next day in preparation for the move. The reopening of the museum in a new building is planned for mid-March.

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