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IWM’s new WWI galleries and schools sessions

Date Posted: 17/07/2014

The Imperial War Museum London will reopen to the public on 19th July after a year of closure, following a major redevelopment and creation of its new First World War galleries.

School Travel Organiser was given the opportunity to take a sneak peak at the new galleries before they open in time for the start of the World War One centenary.

Part of a wider transformation of IWM London, the changes include a newly configured atrium which is now home to iconic large-scale objects and a number of new exhibitions, public spaces, shops and cafes.

A comprehensive learning programme has been developed alongside the new galleries, and we will be covering the schools sessions in an online feature shortly.

Getting us out of the trenches

Speaking at the opening event, Nigel Steel, the principal historian at IWM London said: “The aim was to make the museum more relevant and engaging to 21st century visitors; to challenge people and to surprise them.

“The result is not a traditional, didactic gallery, but a series of highlights, of snapshots into global conflict since 1914.”

Professor David Reynolds, author and historical advisor to the IWM said: “These impressive new galleries illuminate the soldiers’ experiences but they also get us out of the trenches to understand the lives of women and children on the home front.”

What you can see

There are over 1,300 World War One objects on display in the new galleries, ranging from weapons, uniform and equipment to diaries and letters.

An atmospheric soundscape accompanies your journey through the galleries, including a walk through a reconstruction of a trench – complete with a Mark V tank looming above.

There are also a number of interactive elements to appeal to school groups of all ages. You can find out whether or not you would have been eligible to sign up as a soldier, by testing your height, eyesight and teeth.

For further information visit

School Travel Organiser's Guide