Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Imperial War Museum

C & I took the luxury of a Tuesday afternoon without employment and ventured out to the Imperial War Museum to see a special exhibit called Weapons of Mass Communication.

The building, located in St. George's Field in South East London, was once a psychiatric hospital, Bethlem Royal Hospital (otherwise known as 'Bedlam'). The entrance has got these enormous, overwhelming guns that were once on British warships that served in a bunch of different wars. They are huge. Too big to contemplate.

You walk into the museum to be met by a gorgeous atrium full of tanks, airplanes and missiles. These are the real things- the tags describe which wars they were used in- and they are a little surreal. You can climb through old planes, see into the cockpits of mini submarines and peer into tanks.

The museum is huge. After the propaganda exhibit we did a quick take through the remaining exhibits and I was struck at the breadth of artifacts- you've got the usual bits of war memorabilia, but you also have letters and diary entries, a bible with a bullet in it and a lifeboat that two men survived 70 days as castaways in. We went through the Blitz experience and the Trenches area and I'm looking forward to going back when my dad visits and truly immersing myself in all the museum has to tell.

The exhibit we went to see was great. Jam packed with war and related posters from around the world, it was fabulously curated. My favorite part was how the posters were displayed by themes but also by country, so you could see how the different places varied their approach and styles.

The exhibit is so popular that it's been extended until the end of April. In case anyone wants to visit.

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