Online exhibition

20th October 2000 at 01:00
REMEMBERING THE BLITZ. Key stages 3 and 4and 16-plus.

Although this site is not targeted at schools(there are no teachers' notes or activities), teachers of GCSE and A-level history will find it useful when considering such questions as the reliability of evidence, the value of primary and secondary sources and how far history reflects people's own memories of events.

The Museum of London's first online-only exhibition celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Blitz, and gives schools from all over the UK the opportunity to access a London-based archive.

Site design is purely functional, and both graphics and sound download quickly and are of good quality.

Audio clips from the London Oral History Archive focus on personal accounts, and artefacts such as cigarette cards showing air raid precautions are pictured. Text is delivered in manageable chunks and the overall readability of the site is high.

The Memory section asks if the events of the Blitz have been mythologised and ponders why there is so much argument over interpretations of the past. The Big Story provides the facts and figres and The Personal Story adds perspectives less commonly considered, such as preparing for the Blitz, staying alive and the experience of being bombed. This is where you find information on air raid precautions and building a shelter, blackouts and being hit. Here too you learn how, over time, most people adapted to the constant bombing and the changing landscape, and how people dealt with losing their homes, or their loved ones.

Government action (and inaction) and media reporting are briefly surveyed, as are other methods of recording and depicting the war, such as artists' and photographers' impressions.

Throughout the site, users are invited to add their own memories.

The site acknowledges the impossibility of creating the definitive story of the Blitz out of thousands of individual stories and all the other written evidence, but does a good job of encouraging users to value their own experiences and to view themselves as historians. Remembering the Blitz runs until May 11, 2001.

Claire Johnson is an English teacher studying for an MSc in computer-based learning at the University of Southampton

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