The Australian War Memorial will mark the centenary of the First World War by giving the conflict's gallery a 'new life' and running a continuous lighting display of the names of victims.
Memorial director Brendan Nelson repeatedly promised the extensive four-year program, detailed at a gathering on Wednesday night, would be a commemoration of a nation's sacrifice rather than a celebration.
"This is a commemoration of who we are," Dr Nelson said.
The First World War gallery will be rejuvenated with improved technology and a streamlined chronological approach, with several long-hidden desert campaign diaromas to be returned to public view and others restored.
"A sophisticated modern lighting system will use light to bring them to life," Dr Nelson said.
Light will also be used on the memorial's exterior to show the names of each of the 62,000 Australians killed in World War I, with a continuous honour roll running from August this year until November 1918.
The former defence minister said photo exhibitions depicting the Gallipoli and Western Front campaigns would travel throughout the nation, while the graves and memorials for the dead overseas would be marked by 100,000 crosses containing messages from children who visited the memorial.
In a major logistical move, the iconic Menin Gate lions - gifted to Australia by the city of Ypres in 1935 - will depart their places guarding the memorial's entry to return to the Belgian city on loan throughout 2017.
The Devanha boat, one of the original lifeboats used to land troops at Gallipoli, will be one of the objects making the shorter trip to Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance.
Dr Nelson revealed the program for the 2014 and Centenary 2015 ANZAC Day ceremonies, with Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith to speak and the prime minister to give the commemoration address this year.
A giant LED screen will enable memorial visitors to watch the Gallipoli Dawn Service in 2015.
Poppies later shone on to the memorial together with the theme of the centenary - Their Spirit, Our Pride - as John Schumann sang three of his war-themed ballads.
The launch of the program came hours after the parents of the late Corporal Cameron Baird loaned the memorial their son's Victoria Cross.
Veterans' Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson confirmed the $18.75 million ANZAC Centenary local grants program would provide $125,000 for each federal electorate to enable communities to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac in their own way. Dr Nelson said the Memorial would also be actively encouraging people to visit the other national institutions.