It was built during the 1960s, financed by Maurice Genevoix and has been open to the public since September 17, 1967. It remembers both French and German combatants as well as the civilian populations lost during the Battle of Verdun. Furthermore it is a military museum which displays French and German armaments (including rifles, machine guns and field artillery), military vehicles, uniforms and equipment of both French and German troops during the battle. Over time it has become more of an educational museum than a commemorative monument in an effort to keep younger generations aware of their communal heritage. It also contains a movie theater projecting relevant period films on the battle, a research facility, a library, and a bookstore.