Rarely seen WW1 posters pose thought provoking questions about the influence of mass media; building bridges between past and present

South West Museum’s centenary WW1 project, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and CyMAL (The Welsh Government),  centres on a new and exciting touring exhibition; ‘Posters of the First World War: passion, propaganda and pattern to influence a nation’, which offers an excellent chance for visitors to view a significant collection of original, rarely seen, WW1 posters.

Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Pembrokeshire Museums formed a partnership in 2009 to develop coordinated, self-directed learning resources across their four main sites, supported by an educational website hosted by a specially devised character called Medwyn the Mole The project, funded by CyMAL has been a great success and the group are now extending the partnership to deliver a high quality touring exhibition and public engagement programme focusing on themes derived from Carmarthenshire Museum’s outstanding collection of original World War One posters.

The touring exhibition

Each partner will host an exhibition of 31 full sized, framed, original WWI posters.

This family focused, touring exhibition will offer a lively museum experience that explores propaganda, recruitment, The Home Front and the cost of war; impacting on the emotions and senses as well as on the intellect. The inclusion of  ‘Activity-hubs’, with hands-on tactile items, will ensure that there is something for all visitors, young and old alike. The exhibition will also offer access to material for a more subject knowledgeable ‘expert’ audience, providing opportunities for people who wish to explore deeper levels of information.

The partner museums are committed to not just opening their doors for the public to see the exhibition, but also to actively engaging young people and school pupils. The original posters offer exciting opportunities to present visitors with thought provoking questions related to citizenship, mass communication and the influence of the media. By looking at the posters as not just historical artefacts, but examples of how design and media can influence people, a bridge can be built between past and present.


  • Carmarthenshire Exhibition April – May 2015
  • Swansea Exhibition July – Sept 2015
  • Pembrokeshire  Exhibition October 2015 – January 2016
  • Ceredigion Exhibition February – April 2016

Showcasing the voices of young people

In order to ensure that young people have a chance to get involved, the SWM partnership has appointed a Youth Engagement Facilitator. The facilitator, Anna Evans from ‘annacelf’, will work in partnership with Youth Services in North Pembrokeshire, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion in order to invite youth groups in each area to respond to the original posters and take part in a series of multi-media art workshops that will enable young people to voice their perceptions of war in creative and stimulating ways.

With the WW1 poster collection as a central focus, young people will be able to express, share and challenge their perceptions of war. Those taking part will be encouraged to use contemporary imagery, references from their own life experiences, as well as historical sources to respond creatively to the WWI poster exhibition.

Creating and showcasing unique artworks

Using the posters as a catalyst for creativity, young people will create a series of panels and sound recordings that voice their personal responses to both the WWI posters and to war in general. These will be exhibited as a unique immersive temporary installation at community venues across the four counties, ensuring that every individual’s voice can be shared with a wider audience and offering local communities an insight into the unique ‘voices’ of their young people. Digital examples of the original artworks will also be showcased as collections on the People’s Collection Wales website.

If you or your group would like to get involved in the youth engagement project contact:

Anna Evans


Learning resources and school visits

A free learning pack for KS2 / KS3 will be available in April 2015 to support museum visits and classroom activities inspired by the WWI poster collection, encouraging both pupils and teachers to question and challenge each other about their perceptions of war. The content will complement the extensive collection of resources already available on the Hwb, by offering creative, hands-on activities that focus particularly on exploring views, attitudes and perceptions of war. References to local history and the stories of local individuals in each county will help pupils to contextualise the posters and their impact in their local communities.