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What’s on at the Imperial War Museum?

Published: Monday 30th of April 2012

War is intertwined with British history and to really understand the country, people looking for things to do in London can look into this aspect of the past at the Imperial War Museum.

One touching exhibition currently showing at the centre is A Family in Wartime – an exhibition which tells the story of the Second World War from a new perspective, through the experiences of the Allpress family, who lived in Stockwell, London.

Like all families living during the war, the Allpresses had to cope with rationing, evacuation and war work as well as events like the London Blitz and VE Day.

By looking at these everyday experiences, visitors can really get an idea of what it was like to live during the war from the perspective not of those on the front line, but the people back at home whose lives were turned upside down by the conflict.

The exhibition encompasses a model house of the Allpress family home as well as photos and interviews to illustrate the family’s wartime experiences, bringing the era of duty, courage and determination to life. 

Visitors can also explore a recreated Anderson shelter, where wartime families would gather to protect themselves from the terror of an air raid, when bombs would rain down on cities, destroying homes and businesses.

They are also invited to scan the airwaves for radio shows taken from the archives which reveal even more about life in wartime Britain through the mediums of film, iconic posters and paintings.

The Imperial War Museum also runs frequent events to help families understand the nature of conflict.

One such event is the Build the Truce family activity, running on May 26th and 27th. This session is made up of a series of interactive storytelling activities as well as creative art and writing sessions, all based on the theme of global truce. Families will explore the causes of war and how they can be brought to an end.

Visitors are also invited to celebrate Women and the Home Front at another event taking place on June 2nd. This exhibition investigates how women contributed to the war effort and coped with rationing and the dangers of the London Blitz.

In the Imperial War Museum’s vast exhibits gallery, visitors can delve deeper into the stories of both world wars, looking at the complex origins of the notorious conflicts and learning about what life was like for those who lived during this time – from the horrific trenches of the Western Front to a 1940s blitzed street.

Some of the nation’s most important weapons and vehicles from the 20th century are also situated in the exhibits gallery, making the museum a must-see for anyone interested in conflict and looking for things to do in London.

In the Art Gallery is the Breakthrough exhibition, at which guests will peruse powerful artworks by some of Britain’s most celebrated artists. One highlight of this exhibition is a famous piece by John Singer Sargent entitled Gassed.

Alongside this significant painting is a changing programme of exhibitions which include pieces from the museum’s core collections, as well as some newer acquisitions. Visitors may be able to see works by Sir William Orpen, Sir Stanley Spencer, Paul and John Nash, Henry Moore, Eric Ravillious and Evelyn Dunbar.

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