20th November 2014
Day two of my daytime house eviction for dusty rewiring, today the Imperial War Museum. I am slightly shocked that I have never been here before, not even when at school. I have visited the Kensington museums, British museum, Horniman and others hundreds of times so not sure why I missed this one.
The museum has recently reopened after refurbishment and has a new World War I exhibition to commemorate the centenary this year. It was surprisingly packed for a term time weekday but worth slowly following the crowds around the exhibits. It tells the story of the war well, from the cause, propaganda, soldiers’ life and politics to the effects afterwards. There are a large number of weapons and uniforms to view, and a couple to try on. Also a life size trench to walk through with a clever projection of barbed wire and soldiers going about their duty, makes it all very real and scary. The whole exhibition is very high tec with moving displays, carved quotations and excellent exhibits such as a letter to Lord Kitchener from a 9yr old boy volunteering his services.
The other floors have differing war exhibitions, paintings depicting WWI and the top floor has an exhibition of bravery with hundreds of medals and the story behind each Victoria Cross and George’s Cross. A VC is awarded for extreme bravery in the face of the enemy, a GC is awarded for extreme bravery not in the face of the enemy . Some were awarded as far back as the Crimean war and there are a range of tales from shark infested water and cougar attacks to strapping the only parachute to a younger airman for self sacrifice. Absolutely amazing people putting their own lives on the line.
There is a children’s exhibition on spies which looks excellent. It isn’t free like the rest of the museum so I skipped this as Betty isn’t old enough yet. I am quite tempted to go for me though as there are activities throughout to test your spy skills and it’s in collaboration with the Horrible Histories books which I love.
Baby friendly info:
Lambeth North is the nearest tube but not step free.
The museum is completely step free, through the West Entrance, including the WWI exhibition.
There are many changing facilities on most floors.