11.11.07

Imperial War Museum

I took my first trip on the Bakerloo Line today in order to get to the Imperial War Museum. I'd chosen that destination for today as it seemed somewhat fitting for Remembrance Day. I was not alone in that decision, as there were a good number of others at the museum today, though not an overly large amount.

The museum has some nice displays featuring tanks, guns, cannons, planes... the sort of thing you'd hope to see in such a place. Most were from the WWI/WWII era, which is my particular era of interest for military history (though my preference lies with WWII over WWI).

I'm not going to get into a great amount of detail here, rather I'll let the pictures I've posted tell the story for me. However, there were some areas that disallowed photos so I'll at least make mention of those here.

One of the areas was the war poster display, featuring posters from all angles (US, Britain, Spain, Germany, etc.) from all across the 20th century, not just posters from WWI/WWII as I would have expected. There were hundreds overall and it's almost comical to look at them today, despite the fact many spoke the truth about life during the world wars. Of course such devices were rife with propaganda as well.

The third floor of the museum was dedicated to the holocaust, and there was even a warning at the entryway saying children under 14 might get scared by some of the displays. Indeed there were some VERY graphic images contained in the display, along with some eerie items like a recreation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

My time was running out by the time I began walking around the holocaust display, and I'd certainly like to get back to the museum one day and take a proper look around as it's incredibly in-depth. The fourth floor of the museum had a display about crimes against humanity, focusing on genocide and ethnic violence. I didn't have time to get to any part of that display, so that doubly makes me want to go back to the museum when I have more time to look around. As it was I spent over 2 1/2 hours there, taking in the sights and flashing back to school when I first learned about various aspects shown at the museum. Thankfully admission is free, so the only cost is tube fare and time.

For anyone interested in military or wartime history, this museum is not to be missed. The downside is that I'd read the displays at the Churchill Museum are close enough to those at the Imperial War Museum that some people may find it too repetitive to see both. Regardless of that opinion, the Churchill Museum is still on my list of places to see, and if not for the £11 entry fee to it would probably have been my choice for today. Nevertheless I'm glad I made the choice I did, and it looks like this might be the first museum to which I want to make a second trip.

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