What is Mapping the Centenary?

Over a four year period, Britain and countries around the world commemorated the centenary of the First World War. What took placebetween August 2014 and November 2018 evidenced the enduring impacts and aftermath of this twentieth century conflict upon communities, regions and nations.

Mapping the Centenary aims to safeguard and present the accomplishments of those who marked or contributed towards the First World War centenary. The portal has been designed to encourage searching by keyword and geographical location, which will showcase what went on during the first major commemoration of the digital age. We will record information about how this defining moment in Britain’s history was commemorated locally, nationally and internationally. Mapping the Centenary also provides a tangible means for future generations, educators and researchers to gauge, and reflect upon, how our understanding of the First World War changes.

What kinds of projects are included?

In featuring the accomplishments of grassroots organisations through to international partnership programmes, delivering this snapshot is principally about capturing the diverse range of activities and projects.

The IWM-led First World War Centenary Partnership and the BBC’s ‘World War One at Home’ series paved the way for novel cross-sector collaborations. Heritage practitioners and artists worked alongside historians and community groups, in producing exhibitions, performances and a rich array of other cultural media for audiences and the general public.

Beyond various large-scale public events and artworks, the UK witnessed a particular focus upon locally-led remembrance activities. Schemes, such as the former Heritage Lottery Fund’s (now National Lottery Heritage Fund) ‘The First World War: Then and Now’ initiative, enabled community organisations, schools and local history societies to explore the ways in which the First World War affected their surrounding area. Projects considered a variety of topics, including:

  • Tracing the stories of individuals, typically those listed on individual war memorials
  • Daily life as experienced by those on the Home Front
  • Generating new knowledge and perspectives about this global conflict’s hidden histories
  • Digitising wartime records and contributing to new online databases, such as ‘Lives of the First World War’.

I participated in a project, how do I submit an entry to the database?

Visit the IWM Partnerships webpage, and locate the ‘Add Your Project’ link for ‘Mapping the Centenary’. Completing the form should take no longer than fifteen minutes.

How can I preserve what I worked on during the centenary?

Another important element of Mapping the Centenary is to share best practice and advice on archiving digital content. A recent University of Glasgow-commissioned report revealed that the unprecedented amount of material produced over the centenary now falls at risk of being irretrievably lost. We have provided guidance on how you can avoid this happening, by providing details of toolkits and organisations who can help.


As the portal evolves between now and September 2020, its call for action is crucial on two counts; firstly, that of raising awareness to secure as many submissions from individual projects as possible. Secondary to this is the pressing need to share links with guidance on how projects can preserve their websites and online resources.

We are looking forward to seeing your contributions to Mapping the Centenary.