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Imperial War Museum London

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) London is one of the five branches of the Imperial War Museums located across England. The museum is also one of the three located in the London area besides HMS Belfast and the Churchill War Rooms. The other museums outside of London are the Imperial War Museum Duxford in Cambridgeshire and the Imperial War Museum North in Trafford.

The Imperial War Museum London has been at its current location (housed in a former 19th century hospital building) at Lambeth Road since 1938. The museum here explores the history of modern warfare beginning from World War I to the present day, covering conflicts involving British and Commonwealth forces. It also illustrates about the human tolls, sacrifices, sufferings and tragedies on people affected by armed conflicts and the human desire for hope and peace.

 Imperial War Museum London by DeFacto

About

The original purpose of the Imperial War Museum London was to record the story of World War I (then known as the Great War) and contributions made by subjects of the British Empire. Today, the museum also covers World War II and other major military events in the 20th and 21st centuries involving the UK. The museum comprises of several permanent exhibitions themed on armed conflicts since the last century. Exhibits at the museum include fighter planes, tanks, artillery and light weapons as well as uniforms, medals, insignias, flags and photographs.

Witness to War

The entrance to the Imperial War Museum London leads you to the Atrium where the Witnesses to War exhibition is located. Suspended from the ceiling are a Harrier Jump Jet attack aircraft and a Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane. The Spitfire fighter plane on display flew over 50 combat missions during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Below the planes is a V-2 rocket used by Nazi Germany during World War II. Other exhibits in the Atrium include a 13-Pounder Gun from World War I and a T-34 Soviet medium tank used during World War II. There is also a Reuters Land Rover damaged by a rocket attack in Gaza and a car destroyed by a suicide car bombing in Baghdad.

Harrier jet and V-2 rocket by Zorbedit

First World War Galleries

The First World War Galleries explain how World War I began, the Allied victory and its impact on history. It tells not only from the perspective of the battlefront but also from the home front. It tells about the war from the eyes of the British people as well as subjects of the British Empire. The exhibition describes the destruction, suffering and losses but also the endurance, devotion and comradeship during the war. Battles covered include the Battle of Somme, Battle of Passchendaele, Battle of Cambrai and the Gallipoli Campaign. Exhibits include weapons, uniforms, equipment, diaries, letters, photographs and films.

Sopwith Camel from World War I by calflier001

Turning Point

Turning Point explores key moments that were major turning points for the Allies during World War II such as the role of strategic bombings and the D-Day landings at Normandy in June 1944. Other major turning points were the German defeats on the fighting fronts in Russia and Africa. Secret weapons include the Enigma Machine used by the German military to encrypt and decrypt coded messages during the war. However, the code breaking efforts of Alan Turing help the change the history of the war in the Allies favour.

German tank from World War II by Mobius One

A Family in War Time

A Family in Wartime tells the story of how a British family faced the challenges of World War II at home in London. Learn how ordinary Londoners coped with rationing, work and evacuation during the war. Discover how radios connected people with those on the fighting front and the different wartime roles played by men and women. Also, learn how Londoners coped with the German aerial bombings and celebrated V Day on May 8 1945, which marked the end of the war in Europe.

Other Galleries

The Secret War uncovers the world of espionage, covert operations and some of the most secret espionage operations from World War I to the Cold War. Peace and Security tells the story about armed conflicts and divisions between communities around the world since the end of World War II. African Soldier tells about the millions of African soldiers who served in the British colonial campaigns in Africa and their fight on the Western Front in World War I. The Holocaust Exhibition is about the persecution of the Jews under Nazi Germany.

Visiting the Imperial War Museum London

Admission to the Imperial War Museum London is free though the temporary exhibitions may incur an admission fee. The museum opens daily including Bank Holidays (closes on 24th, 25th and 26th December) from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The nearest London Underground station is Lambeth North Station (serving the Bakerloo Line) and about 5 minutes walk from the museum. Other stations include Waterloo Station (serving the Bakerloo, Jubilee and Northern Lines) and Elephant & Castle Station (serving the Bakerloo and Northern Lines) and both are about 10-15 minutes walk from the museum.

Imperial War Museum London on the Map

Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ, UK

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