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Fascinating museum, very hands on Second World War themed attraction
Eden Camp (North Yorkshire)
Member Name: julwhite
Eden Camp (North Yorkshire)
Advantages: Lots of things to see, history presented in an interesting way
Disadvantages: Can be lots of children around!
This review is for the tourist attraction, Eden Camp. This museum focuses on the Second World War and how it impacted people and is built on a former prisoner of war camp which housed German prisoners of war from 1944.
When this was a prisoner of war camp, there were 33 different huts on the site. After 1949 the last Germans left the camp, and the buildings were used for a variety of uses, from lodging houses to car workshops. It was only in 1987 that a museum opened dedicated to the history of the Second World War.
Since the museum opened in 1987, it has won a large number of awards and has also grown to mean that all of the former huts and messes were open to the public. There are also other attractions such as the junior assault course and a dig for victory garden.
The contents of the huts are very varied, there are huts which focus on the rise of Hitler, the u-boat menace, the street at war, women at war, prisoners of war and many more besides. Huts 24 to 29 feature the periods 1919 to 1940 in one hut, and then one for each of the remaining years of the war in the others. If you are to explore the whole museum, you'll need several hours to do so, as there is lots to see.
The exhibits are fascinating to look around, and there are lots of traditional information boards, but there are also attempts to make the displays more interest. For example, in the World War One hut, there are smells and sounds in the hut to try and give some of the atmosphere of the times. Such attempts to add atmosphere really do work, and help make the museum that much more interesting.
The museum is geared up for children, and large numbers of educational visits are held. These can be quite a distraction if you're visiting the site without children, but the museum has provided separate areas for the children to eat and play when they're not visiting the exhibits, so the distractions aren't too bad.
There is a restaurant on site which proves to be good value. Each of the meals has a different name, such as Submariner's Feast (battered fish) and Doodlebugs (fish fingers) for example. Prices are all under five pounds, and although the food is basic it isn't over-priced.
The museum is open throughout the year, just shut for a few days at the end of December and for the first few days of January. The museum opens from 10am to 5pm, with the last admission being at 4pm.
Entry to the museum in 2010 is 5.50 pounds for adults and 4.50 pounds for children and senior citizens. Groups are entitled to a reduced rate. Note that the museum doesn't accept credit or debit cards for entry, which can be awkward if you don't expect it. There is a lot of parking at the museum, which is free of charge.
In summary, this is a superb museum with a lot to see and it's a great way of making history seem interesting and accessible to children. For adults the museum is equally interesting with such a broad depth of subjects covered and lots of material to read and displays to find out more about the past. A museum about the Second World War might not sound fascinating, but this is done so well, that it definitely works and is worth a visit.
Summary: Definitely worth a visit if you have kids or are interested in the Second World War
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