October events @ Imperial War Museum London


From War to Windrush
Closes 1 November 2009

  • To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush in Britain in 1948, this exhibition tells the personal stories of the involvement of Black men and women from the West Indies and Britain in the First and Second World Wars.
  • Among the exhibits on display are pages from the MV Empire Windrush passenger list; the RAF flying logbook of Cy Grant, a navigator in Bomber Command, who was shot down over The Netherlands during the Second World War and spent the rest of the war in German prisoner of war camps; the MBE belonging to Sam King, who returned to Britain on the Windrush after serving in the RAF and was later the first Black mayor of Southwark; and the telegram announcing the death of Walter Tull, the first Black British Army officer
  • Admission free


Aftermath: Human Rights and Conflict

  • 3, 4 October
  • 11.00am – 12.30pm & 2.30pm – 4.00pm
  • A drop-in discussion that introduces both The Holocaust and Crimes Against Humanity exhibitions. Using individual narratives and survivor testimony visitors can explore the human experience of conflict in the twentieth century.

Mrs Sew and Sew

  • 10, 11, 17, 18 October
  • 11.00am – 12.30pm & 2.30pm – 4.00pm
  • Join in with this communal sewing activity and learn some handy hints promoted through the Ministry of Information’s Mrs Sew and Sew.

Life on the Home Front

  • 10, 11, 17, 18 October
  • 11.00am – 12.30pm & 2.30pm – 4.00pm
  • Come along to this interactive talk looking at the Home Front during the Second World War. Talk to Museum staff and see original artefacts.

Black History Month – Family Workshops

  • 26 – 30 October
  • 1.00pm – 4.00pm
  • As a family, learn about African, Asian and Caribbean servicemen and women in the Second World War, during this hands-on drop-in session.

Admission to all family events and activities is free.  All children must be accompanied by an adult.


Forget Me Not:  Postcards from the Front

  • 24 October – 1 November
  • 11.00am – 12.30pm & 2.30pm – 4.00pm
  • Embroidered postcards of flowers such as forget-me-nots, cornflowers and poppies were popular souvenirs sent by soldiers in the First World War from the Western Front to their loved ones back at home. Take part in this drop-in commemorative communal art project.

Mud, Blood and Poppycock

  • 24 October – 1 November
  • 11.00am – 12.30pm & 2.30pm – 4.00pm
  • An interactive drop-in session for families, which uses artefacts to examine the myths and reality of the First World War.

Martin Brown Draws Horrible Histories*

  • 30 October
  • 11.30am and 2.30pm
  • Learn to draw the Horrible way and turn your dodgy doodles into amazing masterpieces with Martin Brown, illustrator of the Horrible Histories* series written by Terry Deary. Frightful First World War? Terrible Trenches? It’s art with the nasty bits left in!
  • Tickets are free but pre-booking advised.  Call 020 7416 5439

Admission to all half term events and activities is free.  All children must be accompanied by an adult.


Horrible Histories: Terrible Trenches – the exhibition

  • Until 31 October 2010
  • Find out about life in the terrible trenches during the First World War in this unmissable family exhibition. Kids of all ages can test their survival skills in an interactive gallery which explores the dire details of life in the blood and mud of the Western Front, from both the British and German sides of the barbed wire.
  • Find out how soldiers coped with foul food, legions of lice, gruesome gas, sickness and sores. Try on the curious clothing of the British and German soldiers, see real items used by soldiers in the trenches, climb through a mining tunnel and explore an officers’ dugout. Peer into no man’s land with a periscope, experience the terrible toilets, smell the stenches and splat the rats.
  • Adults £4.95, Concessions and Groups £3.95, Children £2.50, Family Ticket £13.00
  • Book online at www.iwm.org.uk/trenches or call 020 7416 5439

Outbreak 1939

  • Until 5 September 2010
  • Seventy years after the radio announcement that informed the nation that Britain was at war, Imperial War Museum London presents Outbreak 1939, a special exhibition exploring the build-up to and preparations for war, an overview of the key events of 3 September and an account of the early months of the conflict.
  • Among the items on display relating to 3 September 1939 are the jacket belonging to King George VI worn when he broadcast to the nation at 6.00pm on that day; a wedding dress worn on 3 September for a wedding that was hastily rearranged when the outbreak of the war appeared imminent and the medal awarded to Thomas Priday, the first British soldier to be killed in action during the war, leading a patrol in France. Other items include the German machine gun taken as a souvenir by New Zealand fighter ‘ace’ ‘Cobber ‘Kain from the first aircraft he shot down in 1939, and the conduct book belonging to Gunther Prien, commander of the U47 that sank HMS Royal Oak at Scapa Flow on the 14 October 1939, making him one of Germany’s first war heroes
  • Admission free

Breakthrough – The Art Collection

  • Breakthrough showcases the Imperial War Museum’s collection of British art incorporating outstanding artwork from the official art schemes of both world wars as well as significant non-official and contemporary works. Among the items on display is work by Paul Nash, CRW Nevinson, John Piper and Eric Ravilious, some recently acquired paintings by William Scott and Robert Colquhoun, and contemporary pieces by Bill Woodrow and Graham Fagen.
  • Admission free

The Children’s War

  • Until 1 January 2010
  • This major exhibition looks at the home front in Britain and the impact of the Second World War through the eyes of the children who lived through it. Incorporating hands-on activities for visitors of all ages, it also features the popular 1940s house and part of a post-war prefab.
  • Admission free

The Holocaust Exhibition

  • Ongoing
  • This highly-acclaimed exhibition uses film, photographs and a large number of rare artefacts – many brought from Germany and Eastern Europe – to document the history of the Nazi persecution of the Jews and other groups before and during the Second World War.
  • Admission free

For more information:
Read the Fun Kids review on the Imperial War Museum