All Aboard: Stories of War At Sea @ Imperial War Museum North (to 25 April 2011)

imperial_war_museum_northAll Aboard: Stories of War At Sea

Special Exhibitions Gallery

Jump aboard and test your sea legs at this major new exhibition for families at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. Get hands on with activities for all the family in the Imperial War Museum’s first ever large-scale exhibition to look at life at sea in wartime.
Action-packed and interactive, this is a great day out for visitors of all ages.

Ever imagined what it would be like to be a sailor? Try out some ‘Jackspeak’ and see if naval clothing would keep you warm on the icy deck of a warship in the Arctic. Discover the naval origins of many everyday words and phrases and find out why you might find a reindeer on a battleship. Learn which animals have sailed the oceans and why, from cats and dogs to more unusual creatures.

Embark on a voyage of discovery through some of the most momentous events in British history – from the First World War to the present day. Immerse yourself in the vast scale of the oceans and ships, while discovering moving real life stories of bravery, adventure, suffering and survival. See and hear what life was like at sea through the words and voices of people who were there.

This free exhibition contains many objects on public display for the first time, including part of a ship’s gun damaged during the first sea battle of the First World War, medals awarded for bravery at Dunkirk, and a uniform worn by a woman who worked on preparations for D-Day.

All Aboard: Stories of War at Sea is timed to mark the anniversaries of some of the most significant and dramatic moments in British history. This year is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic and the evacuation of Dunkirk, while the exhibition also includes powerful stories

Fun Info You Will Learn:

Fancy talking like a sailor? You probably already do! You don’t have to live by the sea to pick up the naval lingo. Many well known phrases have naval origins, most dating back to the age of sailing ships. Here’s our top 5:

  1. Getting your own back (getting even or having revenge) – If the wind was blowing in the wrong direction when using the toilets (or ‘heads’) on a ship you would ‘get your own back’.
  2. Be at loggerheads (arguing) – A loggerhead was a round iron ball at the end of long handle that was used to heat pitch (a type of sticky tar) for sealing deck planks. Arguing sailors often used loggerheads as weapons.
  3. Sling your hook (go away) – What one sailor might say to another in the next hammock wanting him to move elsewhere, to sling his hammock somewhere else.
  4. Pipe down (Stop talking) – The boatswain piped a signal at the end of the day for lights out and silence.
  5. At the sharp end (in danger) – At the bows of the ship, ie at the front.


Family Launch Day
Saturday 17 July 2010

  • All Aboard: Stories of War at Sea will launch on Saturday 17 July 2010 with a day of family fun, including a special fancy dress Shipshape Saturday. Come dressed to impress to receive a special gift on launch day (while stocks last). Why not start your school holidays by coming to the Museum as a little sailor? Or perhaps you fancy yourself as the ship’s cat? Then take part in lots of activities for all the family, including lots of the following:

Shipshape Saturdays
Learning Studio open 1-4pm every Saturday

  • Shipshape Saturdays at the Museum are packed with family fun – from craft to theatrical performances – for the duration of the exhibition. Get creative in our special craft sessions. Make your own pop-up character, whether it be Simon the ship’s cat or your own sailor. Decorate your own wind-up clockwork character. A ship’s mascot or a sailor? You decide! Get a feel for historic naval items in our object handling sessions. Watch dramatic films and footage from Imperial War Museum’s Archive.

Animals Aboard
11.30am, every Saturday and Daily throughout school holidays,

  • Meet cuddly character Simon, the ship’s cat, in our Animals and War Tours. Dress up as the cat who controlled the mice on board ship. Learn why Simon was awarded the Dickin Medal for ‘behaviour of the highest order’. Then spot Simon’s remarkable story in the exhibition.

What a Performance
Main Exhibition Space, 11.15am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm, 3.15pm, every (except 1 and 29 January 2011)

  • See one of our special, family friendly performances, dramatising stories of bravery, adventure and endurance at sea.

A Closer Look
2.30pm every Tuesdays and Thursdays (but not school holidays)

  • A 20 minute walk and talk around our Main Exhibition Space and Special Exhibitions Gallery taking in key artefacts and moving personal stories to bring the history of war at sea to life.
  • Meet at Tour point in the Foyer

For more infor go to: