If you are a history buff and are going to be in London this summer you might consider to take a day and visit at least one of the sites of the Imperial War Museum. Three out of the five venues of this riveting museum are in the London area. The Lambeth location is a good place to start your adventure. The museum began operation in 1917 and has accumulated an impressive collection of artifacts and provides enough historical detail as anyone could want. The museum includes all the conflicts Britain has been involved with since 1914.
To reach the headquarters of the Imperial War Museum from Safestay Hostel is relatively easy if you don't mind walking for a bit. I would suggest you forget about transport and just take a stroll to your destination. It is less than a mile (1.6 km) and will take you about 11 minutes.
As you leave Safestay head to your left towards Elephant and Castle. This would be northwest on Walworth Rd/215 toward Newington Butts/A3. Turn right onto Elephant and Castle/A3. Continue to follow Elephant and Castle for 0.1 mile (.016 km). You will then veer to the left onto St. Georges's Rd/A201/A302. In about 0.3 miles (0.05 km) you will turn left onto Lamberth Rd/A3203. The museum will be on your left.
Since 2012 the Imperial War Museum claims it's goal is “to provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and wartime experience”. The museums collections include archives of personal and official documents, photographs, film as well as video material and oral history recordings.
There is also an extensive library, a large art collection, and examples of military vehicles, aircraft, equipment and other artifacts.
Admission is free at this location. Hours of operation have not been posted yet but previously the facility was open 7 days a week for most of the day.
The museum is undergoing a major building redevelopment to be able to open a new exhibit to mark the Centenary of the First World War. Part of the new exhibit will feature “Truth and Memory” which will be the largest exhibition of First World War Art for almost 100 years. The museum will feature through it's new Galleries the most comprehensive story of World War I that can be seen anywhere in the world. Questions that will be answered will be how it began, why it continued for years, and it's impact on Europe and the world. It will partially be explained through the lives of those who experienced it on both the front line and the home front.
Along with numerous artifacts and objects from the time period one will be able to see up close a Mark V tank and a Sopwith Camel Biplane.
Also on display will be souvenirs from the front lines, personal love letters, photographs, art and film.
In addition, the Galleries will feature a number of interactive digital displays. One that will be known as the Supply Line is where visitors can explore the unprecedented war production. The economy at the time would be totally reorganized to produce weapons and other supplies necessary to maintain the vast armies in the field. Another one will feature immersible spaces that will include a recreated trench complete with a sound-scape so one can fully experience what a soldier faced on the battlefield.
The other permanent exhibitions and galleries will reopen in July as well. One is the Holocaust Exhibition which tells the story of the persecution of Jews and other groups during World War II. Another gallery that can be seen is the Lord Ashcroft. Here one can view the world's largest collection of Victoria Crosses.
Another favorite is the Family in War Time which tells the story of the Allpress family during World War II. It would be a typical experience of anyone living in London at this time period.
An increasingly popular gallery is the one named the Secret War. The content here deals with Britain's Special Forces. The world of espionage and covert operations can be experienced on a much more personal level than most people are used to.
If you wish to visit some of the other sites of the museum there are two others in London. They are HMS Belfast and the Churchill War Rooms which will be featured in future articles. Outside of London there are two additional venues including one in the city of Manchester (Imperial War Museum North) and one in Cambridgeshire (Imperial War Museum Duxford).