Every so often, I am persuaded to leave the perceived safety of my classroom and venture out into the real world and last week saw me lend my services to an outing to the recently refurbished Imperial War Museum. Now I have to confess that I have always enjoyed this museum with lasting memories of the trench and blitz experiences, both with their tinned recordings, sound effects and mannequins, but all that has gone!
With the makeover complete we were treated to a fresher, more interactive experience with education at its heart. Many of the old favourite static displays are still prominent, but there has been a great deal of thought given to the display of specific artefacts that help to illustrate the various conflicts in a chronological order. I am sure that critics will bewail the almost superficial experience, but to me this still rates as one of the best museum in the country. Certainly their education department and the gentlemen that took the session on First World War film making was superb.
It is clear that the face lift is not to everyone's tastes, I have certainly heard mixed reviews and even among the staff present there was a feeling that perhaps the Museum had moved too far away from the preservation of artefacts and was embracing the interactive experience at the expense of display and lets not talk about the ridiculous amount of souvenir shops they now have!
Gripes aside, I don't think I did the museum justice and will have to return before long, but perhaps without the seventy children who needed constant supervision! Still what I did see has left a favourable impression and the museum is certainly continuing to flourish - it is simply too good not to.
For those of you who haven't seen the level of refurbishment, then do have a look at the official time lapse photography of the transformation - it really is quite amazing. Back to report writing for me so that I can free up some painting time at the weekend.
This museum is on my list of places to visit when I come over for a holiday in a couple years.ReplyDelete
Very nice change of pace for this post. The museum looks fantastic in your shots.ReplyDelete
I really should get out more.
I preferred the old museum, although I also need to make a return trip as a made the mistake of visiting in the summer holidays and it was so packed it was difficult to walk round the new WWI bit.ReplyDelete
I should visit museums more often. Looks great!ReplyDelete
I do like they way they've opened the place up and I'd love to visit the place again, thanks for the "walk-through"ReplyDelete
Looks great. Haven't been for about 6 or 7 years. Last time I was there the stand out exhibit was on the Holocaust, and the fascinating but chilling model in white plastic of the Hungarian Jews being brought into Auschwitz, based I believe on the original film of the incident.ReplyDelete
Great pics, I haven't been to the museum for years, its about time I did!ReplyDelete
I was slightly disappointed by the IWM when compared to our own Aussie AWM, for many of the reasons you outlined above. I just felt it was more of a history sideshow and less a place of curation, research and historic importance. Seems to be even more so now from what people are saying. Still well worth the visit mind you.ReplyDelete
I hope they put the Jagdpanther back!ReplyDelete
Nice report Michael, & now it leaves me wondering if indeed this was the museum I visited during my 80's while serving in Germany. I will need to go back & find my photos to be sure. But I think from the changes I won't recognize anything.ReplyDelete
Fab photos, Mochael, thank you. Alas, living in the wilds of the far north getting down there is a touch tricky so the pictures are a welcome treat.ReplyDelete
Mochael? Apparently I started drinking early today.ReplyDelete
Quite a transformation! I shall have to visit once half-term is over.ReplyDelete
Excellent in every regard.ReplyDelete
Great Michael , great pics !.ReplyDelete
i visited the IWM many times before the refurbishment, and i'm waiting to find the time to see it now, so thanks for sharing.
Lovely photos Michael. Thanks for sharingReplyDelete
I've visited this museum every time I've been in the area with a few hours to kill. It is superb, not been since the facelift but look forward to seeing it at some pointReplyDelete
war museums are soo coolReplyDelete
Looks great Michael!ReplyDelete
Great post Michael. We were there a couple of years ago and had a great afternoon meandering through the museum. I'm a bit of a fetishist when it comes to curation and exhibition design so I'm VERY much looking forward to our next visit after seeing your photos. Thanks again!ReplyDelete
Fond memories from my first visit, will have to make it there on one of my trips with work sometimeReplyDelete
For someone who can never visit this museum, I say thank you for sharing. Love the photos. :)ReplyDelete
"there was a feeling that perhaps the Museum had moved too far away from the preservation of artefacts and was embracing the interactive experience at the expense of display and lets not talk about the ridiculous amount of souvenir shops they now have! "ReplyDelete
This sounds very similiar to the revamped National Museum of Scotland in Chamber Street here in Edinburgh. First impressions are that it looks fabulous. It's only after you start exploring, that you realise how superficial the exhibits are (and there's not very many of them either - too much empty space in my opinion).
And yes, strangely enough theree's a large amout of space given over to a cafe (half a gallery) , a bistro restaurant and several shops....
What's particularly annoying is that the excellent displays of armour and weapons have now gone.
A triumph of style over susbstance unfortunately.
I'm afraid that you might be right, although I really need to go and have another look when not on crowd control!Delete
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