Today I visited the Imperial War Museum. I had recently seen the adverts for The Holocaust Exhibition all over the tube, and had wanted to visit. Oddly, I presumed I had been before, having been born and bred in London, but actually it was a first. Shocking.
Here is me this morning, before heading out to a meeting, and as it went well I figured I would treat myself to a museum afternoon.
All pictures in this blog are mine - I only had my camera phone, so they're not amazing, but I hope they give you an idea of the exhibitions if you have never been before.
I think this is my favourite picture, which shows the main atrium of the museum. When you first enter, you are surrounded by vehicles - tanks, buses, submarines amd aeroplanes.
I was immediately drawn to the bus - which was comissioned from London to the be used to transport soldiers.
The museum is noisy - it was full of school children on trips. I'm happy that children are visiting museums, but it does make it harder to concentrate. I decided to head straight to the Holocaust Exhibition. It is suggested that only people over 14 enter, and once you head up to the third floor, it is instantly quieter, and inside the actual exhibition there is almost no talking. Very apt for the subject matter.
Being an ex-librarian this quote on the wall jumped out at me. It also reminded me that while on a college trip to Berlin, I visited a famous site of book-burnings. I love that this quote is from the 1800s yet still was relevant during World War II, and today.
The Holocaust Exhibition was much larger than I had imagined, and very detailed. It uses audio to great effect, and fills you with the personal realities of the time. It uses photos, models, clothing, recordings, video, artefacts and documents to bring these real histories to life. It can be easy to forget that this happened in our living memory.
There were parts of the exhibition that I didn't want to photograph. It didn't feel right to me. However, within the muddle of broken artefacts that had been exclavated from mass graves, the one little bow brooch just jumped out at me.
I then went to investigate the rest of the museum - it was a huge maze that just didn't seem to end!
It covers a variety of wars - from the First World war up until more modern times, and it's very easy to get lost! You could easily while away a few hours here.
Just when I thought I was done, I found 'The Trench Experience', where you walk through a life-like trench.
Again, the museum used audio very well, and I was in there on my own which was quite a dramatic experience.
As the trenches were such a confusing maze, the soldiers gave them 'street signs' so that they could find their way about. In this picture the signs include 'Death Valley' and 'Sucide Alley'.
The museum is definitely worth a visit - highly recommended.