This is only recently opened and is so new that no previous volunteer groups have been there. There used to be a smaller museum that I have read about and this must have taken over some of its exhibits for the museum section downstairs, which houses a collection of war artefacts in glass cases: relics such as water canteens, digging tools, shells, coins, rings, crosses, pipes, belt buckles, shaving tools and fountain pens - all the every day items of men with few belongings. There is also a display of bullets that hit in mid air. The chances of that happening must be minute, so it shows you how many bullets were flying around.
The Simulation part involves a series of 10 or 11 gallery rooms that tell the story of the 1915 Gallipoli naval and land campaigns, mostly from the Turkish point of view. They use special effects, sometimes 3D glasses, and a headset that translates the Turkish commentary, and an efficient tour leader whisks you from room to room. A school group came after us and I imagine kids would love it. I didn't think the special effects were up to Weta Workshop standard, but it gave us plenty to talk about afterwards and it was interesting to see the many Turkish tourists who were visiting.
After a morning walking round battle sites, and another good lunch at a local hotel, most of us were flagging a little by the time of our visit, and there was general agreement that the simulation gallery room with the lean back chairs was the best, and we could have comfortably have snoozed off there for an hour or two.
One of the great things about the Gallipoli Volunteer program is that it brings together a disparate group of people, of all ages and backgrounds, who mostly haven't met before (although there are a few coincidences of people who work in the same place, or know of each other) but all have particular reasons for being here and wanting to help out at the Anzac services.
Some of the group have served in the army or air force, in Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan or other places. Many are nurses or paramedics, or studying to become one, or are involved in civil defence. Many have relatives who were in WW1 or WW2. We come from all over NZ (from Northland to Otago) and Australia (nearly every state and territory, from Exmouth in WA to Tasmania.) There are two sisters: Philippa and Mary Anne; a father and son: Peter and Nick, and a mother and daughter: Rosemary and Anna. It's clearly going to be a meaningful experience for everyone.
But it's not all serious there are plenty of shared laughs as we get to know each other better. Some of us travelling alone are rooming together. The back seats of the bus are getting a reputation. We're starting to identify the party goers and there was (apparently!) evidence of that yesterday at the Kangaroo Bar in Eceabat - I don't have any photos of that!