Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Middle East exhibition

Dr Brendan Nelson and Chris Masters launch of Middle East display and Afghanistan DVD release at the Australian War Memorial. Photo: Karleen Minney.

Clare Sibthorpe, New Middle East display and Chris Master’s documentary launches at the Australian War Memorial, The Canberra Times, 6 October 2016

Integrating back into an indifferent society after experiencing the horrors of war is far from easy. But award-winning journalist Chris Masters hopes his new documentary exploring the impact of the Afghanistan war on Australian troops reduces this indifference even slightly.

He said that soldiers revealed painful memories they’d kept from their own families in his work, which was launched alongside the Australian War Memorial’s new exhibition about Australia’s involvement in the Middle East.

The AWM launched the exhibit and Masters’ documentary on Wednesday, and Memorial director Dr Brendan Nelson said he was touched at how it changed people’s perception’s of war.

“One airforce officer said one of the guys she worked with had a wife who hated the military, hated the airforce an hated the fact he’d been away for so long,” Dr Nelson said.

“And then when he brought her to see it she broke down in tears and said ‘I’m sorry, I get it”.

Dr Nelson said he knew there was a need for the memorial’s Middle East exhibition when he visited Afghanistan as Australia’s ambassador to NATO.

“An Australian soldier said to me ‘I take my son to the War Memorial a lot. Why can I show him what his great grandfather did, what his grandfather gave to Australia but can’t show him what I’m doing?’,” Dr Nelson said.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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