War museums have to strike a very delicate balance: how much emphasis should they give to military hardware and how much emphasis should they give to the cost of conflict?
The Australian War Memorial is weighing that balance now as it marks the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by an American-led coalition which included Australian forces.
Curators have decided a fighter plane used in the war should be juxtaposed with items from the anti-war protests.
In the past, the Memorial has been accused of glorifying war by giving the awesome technology of war so much prominence - the main purpose of the $550 million expansion is to give the machinery more space.
And there is no doubt an appeal, particularly perhaps to men, of seeing big machines capable of inflicting a lot of death and destruction. It is sometimes likened to pornography.
But machinery only gives a partial, sanitised view of war. It's wow without the woe.
The world's best military museums think hard about juxtaposition - about how to put exhibits next to each other to make people think.
For example, in the marvellous German military museum in Dresden, there is a devastated jeep in which three German soldiers were seriously injured. Alongside it are voting cards showing the support for the German leaders Schroeder and Merkel who led their countries into war.
The Dresden museum is not about the glory of war - how could it be in a city which produced Nazis, and which was then turned to charred rubble by allied aircraft, including those of two squadrons of the RAAF.
There is a Japanese suicide torpedo where the pilot was sealed in. His cockpit was screwed down so there was no way back.
There is a skull, with the front blown away after a soldier shot himself. This is all sober material - but you come away contemplating war, and you don't stop contemplating it.
I have to say that I haven't experienced the same degree of thoughtfulness when I have left the Australian War Memorial.
The one image which does stay in my mind is that of a helmet with a bullet hole in its side. It is stark enough to convey the reality of war.
So I welcome the new exhibition marking the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq showing a tin of blood-red paint as used to daub a sail of the Sydney Opera House with "No War" in huge letters.
The Memorial would no doubt say that protest has been a part of museum section in the past - but the hardware and tales of glorious deeds (and they were glorious) seemed to have overshadowed the dark side of war.
That may be changing with the anti-war items. As the Memorial's director Matt Anderson put it: "Putting these items on display together at the Australian War Memorial is a powerful reminder that, in any healthy democracy, decisions to go to war and our community's determined desire for peace are always interconnected."
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