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21 October 2014

the imperial war museum | lambeth north

on sunday i headed down to the imperial war museum in lambeth. i've also known it was there, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that i discovered it had reopened after a couple of silent years of renovation. it actually reopened on 19 july of this year, to mark the centenary of the first world war; with a ground-breaking host of new wwi galleries and loads of drama in the new atrium, i was really looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about. if the marketing in the tube was anything to go by, there was going to be some really great pieces in there, with some incredibly curated exhibitions.

well, sunday probably wasn't the most ideal day to go - it was pretty busy, which made it hard to get around to all the things, and there was definitely a lot to see. around the ground floor and main atrium was a shit tonnnne of impressive pieces like uhm planes and cars and missiles and stuff. above that was a couple of exhibitions that you had to get tickets for, so we passed because broke (but will be going back for them), but there were still a bunch of free exhibitions also that we did have a wander through.

the worst thing i ever did was go through the holocaust one. i mean... this is not a lot of new information to me - i've been to a number of wwi and wwii ravaged countries and seen and learned lots about them and their history, etc, but... having not made it to any of the camps myself (i would say "yet", but after this... i don't know if i could... have you?), this was probably the closest i've ever been to the 'reality' of it all. i mean, first hand accounts of what it was like, specific details and statistics of what went on in the camps, possessions retained from when the camps were liberated... it was all just so... sickening. and the worst part was at the very end of the exhibition when it showed just what happened to the fifteen or so heads of the ss army and the nazi party after the war, and the aboslute lack of remorse they each showed afterwards. the majority of them took their (and their family's) own lives in a repulsive act of cowardous, the rest were all killed. rightly so.

er, enough about that. we spent a good couple of hours there, but it was a bit blah after the holocaust bit, and so we headed off for a coffee instead. i really enjoyed what we did see, but would have liked more time just wandering the atrium and really reading what everything was about. it was a tad difficult with the amount of traffic in there, so next time i head back, i'll make sure to get in there early to beat the crowds.

have you been along since it reopened?

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  1. Oh the Holocaust exhibition. I was literally sobbing through this. And when they get you to stand in a marked rectangle and then you realise that was the size of the cow carts they were transported in… heart-breaking, but we need to know this stuff. Will definitely have to visit now it’s reopened. Damn yous Erica for making me want to go back.

  2. I haven't been since I was at school, but I definitely need to go now. I hadn't realised it had reopened - go me on my observance skills! The Holocaust exhibit sounds harrowing, I was exactly the same in the Anne Frank House museum earlier this year. Though it's heartbreaking I do think it is good that we remember these atrocities. Laura xx

  3. oh man, I was telling my mate about Anne Frank Huis and how haunting it was just being in there, but I suppose nothing can compare to actually being at one of the camps.... *shudders*

  4. you're welcome! a bitta culcha could do you good, kid!

  5. I love The Imperial War Museum. I have been a couple of times and I want to try and get back there when I am in London next! I was so moved by the Holocaust exhibition, it is so heartbreaking, but so important that we never forget.

  6. I really need to go to the IWM, as I live so close and enjoyed it when I want during secondary school. The Holocaust exhibit sounds haunting, which if I'm honest I'm pleased about as I think we should still react that way as it was such an atrocity. Imagine if we were allowed to forget how horrific it really was. I understand not wanting to go to the camps, but I would say you should go. I visited Dachau and whilst it was heartbreaking and horrific, there were stories of courage and friendship that remind you how amazing people are. Gosh that's a depressing comment isn't it?! Sorry for that! But hooray for exploring a brilliant museum and for reminding me I must visit soon! xxx

  7. no, I know what you mean. it's like at the end of Anne Frank's diary where it goes into an epilogue from her father Otto, and about his life after the camps. it's *awful* (not horrible enough a word, I know) what happened to millions of innocent people, but the courage and amazing stories from the camps are really, truly, things to admire. I still don't know if I could go... maybe one day. x


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