Friday, 15 July 2016

The Imperial War Museum

On one of our days off, I went to the Imperial War Museum with two of my classmates, Kim and Veronica. We got there a little early (we forgot to see when they opened, oops!), but that just gave us time to look around the beautiful garden outside!

Nurse's outfit, located near many other uniforms
worn by women during the war

Once we got inside, we decided to follow the museum chronologically and start with the World War I exhibit. While I’m not as interested in World War I as I am WWII, but it was still fairly interesting. Much of it was about war, but there was a section covering what roles women and children played, which is more aligned with my interests. Interestingly, there was a section of the large exhibit that was meant to give visitors a feeling of what it was like to be in the trenches. You walked through an small area with winding trench tunnels, with speakers and lighting recreating the atmospheric conditions that soldiers experienced.

After we finished going through the exhibit, we headed upstairs to World War Two. I sped through the main exhibit, wanting to see the area that talked about the home front. While I really wish I had been able to see the recreated 1940s house that used to be in the museum, the exhibit that they have now was still pretty interesting. Instead of focusing on general experiences, it followed one family through the war. There was a miniature recreation of the family’s house, as well as a digital display that let you zoom in and get more details. Farther in, there were full-scale reproductions of various rooms in the family’s house, including the sitting room and kitchen. Scattered around were documents that families such as theirs would have had, as well as other household items (such as sewing kits and knitting bags). Kim and Veronica also pointed something out to me that I was too excited to notice at first – there were large fashion drawings on the walls! At the end of the exhibit was an example air raid shelter, similar to the one that the family would have had in their yard.

We quickly looked through a few more exhibits in the museum before hitting the gift shops and heading for the Churchill War Rooms.

Backyard Anderson shelter

WVS uniform

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