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Imperial War Museum

  • Museums
  • Lambeth
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  1. © Michelle Grant / Time Out
    © Michelle Grant / Time Out
  2. Ministry of Food poster © Imperial War Museum
    Ministry of Food poster © Imperial War Museum
  3. © Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
    © Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
  4. © Imperial War Museum
    © Imperial War Museum
  5. ©Michelle Grant / Time Out
    ©Michelle Grant / Time Out
  6. © Roman Halter
    © Roman Halter

Time Out says

The IWM London was given a major, £30 million refit in recent years, with new 3000 square metre Holocaust and World War II galleries opening in autumn 2021 after six years of renovations. 

Visitors to the Lambeth landmark arrive in the Central Hall, an attention- grabbing repository of major artefacts: guns, tanks and aircraft, including a Spitfire used by West Riding RAF Squadron on 57 missions, to the wreckage of a Land Rover operated by press agency Reuters on the Gaza Strip.

Extensive World War I galleries occupy the rest of the ground floor, and feature over 1300 objects encompassing weapons, uniforms, diaries, keepsakes, film and art. The new World War II galleries are even larger, displaying 1500 items, while the first floor leads into new World War II galleries. 

On the second floor, the harrowing Holocaust galleries (not recommended from under-14s) tell the individual stories of some of the six million Jews murdered during the deadliest genocide in history via 2,000 photos, books, artworks, letters and personal objects.

The museum’s third floor space is dedicated to temporary exhibitions, while the fifth floor Lord Ashcroft galleries display the world’s largest collection of Victoria Crosses alongside accounts of the indivuals who eanred them in a permanent display called ‘Extraordinary Heroes’.

RECOMMENDED: Read about our favourite exhibits from the Imperial War Museum or see more of London’s best museums

Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Rosie Hewitson


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What’s on

Spies, Lies and Deception

  • Military and maritime

This exhibition is a must-see for anyone keen to have a peek into the mysterious world of espionage. Covering human stories, clandestine operations and secret messages, ‘Spies, Lies and Deception’ delves into the world of spying and how it’s been transformed since the First World War. The collection showcases 150 objects, newly digitised films and specially commissioned interviews. Highlights include the story of Noor Inayat Khan, the first woman wireless operator sent to Occupied France, and how the secret service have created hidden weapons over the last few decades. It’s well worth some investigation. 

Storyteller: Photography by Tim Hetherington

  • Film and TV

The human impact of conflict is a dimension of war that is often overlooked, but not in this springtime exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, which looks to shed light on people and their experiences of war through the work of celebrated humanitarian and photojournalist Tim Hetherington. Marking the 13th anniversary of his passing, it will explore Hetherington’s unconventional approach of creating ‘visual novels’, becoming ‘part of the platoon’ and his commitment to ‘closing the distance’ between his subjects and his audience, and includes work from his 2011 project on the Libyan Civil War, during which he was mortally wounded.

War and the Mind

  • Military and maritime

‘War and the Mind’ is a major investigation into how devastating the mental consequences of war can be. It will take visitors on a journey which looks at war from a psychological perspective, how conflicts thrive on solidarity and division, and how going into battle can feel terrifying yet thrilling. It’ll all be informed by UK Research and Innovation’s projects, it promises to be moving and insightful. More details will be announced on the Imperial War Museum’s website. 

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