London is a very historic city and with history comes museums filled with culture, tradition and art. Museums are some of my favourite places to visit. I relish at the thought of learning about the different historical periods of the host towns and the various cultures accompanying them. The Imperial War Museum is a tad different from the usual culture/art museums as it is one dedicated to encouraging the study and understanding of the history of modern war.
The museum has five locations all over England with three of them right here in the heart of London. I happened to visit the one located on Lambeth Road together with my Ethics Class last week. We were there particularly to study the currently on going Holocaust exhibition.
The institution carefully documents the 1st and 2nd World Wars in detail in its first and second floors, while the Holocaust exhibition is hosted on the fourth floor. A wide range of historical artefacts have been preserved and stored in perfect condition to allow visitors to visualize what it was like during that era.
Grandiose weapons and vintage vehicles direct from the battlefield are strategically placed all through the building. Personal documents, videos and pictures are part of the extensive collection the Museum holds and not forgetting the large library and gift shop that also contribute to museum’s make up.
Guides patrol each floor of the building ready to help out or answer any queries one may have. I must commend Mr Tim Free, one of the guides who really gave my friend Adelaide and I some great insight into why this museum and others like it are important for Britain.
‘Where one burns books, one will in the end, burn people.’ – Heinrich Heine. This is the first quote I see on the walls as I walk through the holocaust exhibition. A sign of the theme of the entire collection maybe?
My Alma Mater, Chapman University, had an extensive holocaust exhibition in their library and that was the first time I had come to know about this horrendous time in history. The Imperial War Museum’s exhibition felt like an extension of what I had seen and read about back in Chapman. They tell the story from beginning to end with personal accounts from survivors and children of survivors and the walk through the entire floor was really impactful to each one of us. I left there with a sense of anger and sadness because of the inhumane acts that occured during that time but also a sense of relief that the human race has learnt to forgive the past and focus on rebuilding for the future.
No pictures can be taken in the holocaust exhibition but are allowed in all other parts of the museum.
Entrance to the Museum is free to all and is open everyday from 10a.m to 6p.m
Photography by Diana Odero, unless stated otherwise on individual images.