Families can discover 100 years of stories this summer


This summer, as part of IWM’s Centenary commemorations, families can discover 100 years of stories across IWM’s five branches: IWM London, IWM North, IWM Duxford, Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast.


IWM was established in 1917, while the First World War was still being fought and has continued to collect and tell the stories of those impacted by war and conflict for 100 years. This summer, families can see items relating to children’s experiences of war. On HMS Belfast, they can discover the story of the children who were rescued from civilian internment camps in Shanghai and were thrown a party by the crew on board the ship in 1945. At IWM London, they can read the letters written by a 10 year old evacuee in the Family in Wartime Exhibition.

There are also unexpected and surprising facts for children to uncover across all five branches this summer. Pick up special free centenary leaflets, available at all branches, which highlight some of these fascinating items on display. At IWM London, find out about Tirpitz the swimming pig who survived the sinking of SMS Dresden during the First World War. Or at IWM Duxford, stand in awe of the world’s most famous and fastest planes and try out one of the free family friendly trails.

Diane Lees, Director General, Imperial War Museums says
“In our Centenary year, IWM invites families to immerse themselves in 100 years of stories this summer. From the everyday to the exceptional, discover more about the many ordinary men, women, children and animals whose lives were affected in extraordinary ways by war and conflict.”

Below are just some of the stories family visitors can uncover this summer across IWM’s five museums…

HMS Belfast

Admission*: £16 Adults; £12.80 Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled); £8 Child (5- 16); Free Child (under 5); Family tickets available; Special rates for groups of ten plus.

HMS Belfast, a Second World War Navy ship that served at D-Day, is the largest object in IWM’s collection. However, did you know that she once played host for a children’s party? On 1 October 1945, HMS Belfast docked in Shanghai and welcomed former internees on board, following their liberation from Japanese-run camps. Hunger had been rife in the camps, so young internees were treated to delicious jellies, cake and chocolate, all things denied to them during their captivity. The ship’s crew also constructed slides and swings on board to welcome their young guests. An illustration of the party can be seen in the War and Peace Exhibition aboard HMS Belfast. iwm.org.uk/visits/hms-belfast

IWM London

Admission: free

After the sinking of the German light cruiser SMS Dresden on 14 March 1915, an unexpected survivor was saved from the seas by a sailor on HMS Glasgow… ‘Tirpitz’ the pig. The frightened Tirpitz, who was seen swimming in the waters off the Juan Fernandez Islands in the South Pacific, nearly drowned his rescuer, but was brought safely on board the British ship, where he served as mascot for a year. Visitors can find Tirpitz in the First World War Galleries on level 0, as well as exploring Family in Wartime and Secret War, where children can uncover fascinating facts around every corner… iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-london



IWM Duxford

Admission: £18 Adults; £14.40 Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled); £9 Child (5- 16); Free Child (under 5); Family tickets available; Special rates for groups of ten plus.

Lancasters, Spitfires, Concordes and Vulcans are just some of the historic aircraft that children can see close up at IWM Duxford. Families can see actual restoration in progress and meet the skilled engineers who make these remarkable aircraft fly again! Look out for a newly restored aircraft flying overhead and children can let off steam in the museum’s green spaces or the exciting playground, Activity Zone. To commemorate Duxford’s centenary this summer, children aged 7 and above can also visit a brand new storytelling experience, a sound sculpture by artist Nick Ryan. From 16 June, interact with innovative sensor technology that translates light into sound as you explore DX17, inspired by the memories of the brave men and women who lived and worked on site. iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford

IWM North
Admission: free
At IWM North, visitors can find out about the experiences of 10,000 Jewish children during the Second World War who were sent to Britain by parents desperate to protect them from the growing Nazi threat. Shocked by Kristallnacht, in November 1938 the British government approved a rescue effort that brought refugee children to Britain on the Kindertransport (Children’s transport). One of these children was Arnold Urbach, who carried this suitcase with him on his journey from Germany. See Arnold’s suitcase in Silo 1: Experience of War at IWM North. Families can also catch the hourly Big Picture Show in the Main Exhibition Space, which brings to life people’s experiences of war. iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-north

Churchill War Rooms
Admission*: £19 Adults; £15.20 Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled); £9.50 Child (5- 16); Free Child (under 5); Family tickets available; Special rates for groups of ten plus.
On 14 August 1945, the lights of Winston Churchill’s underground war time Cabinet complex were switched off for the first time in six years. Many of the rooms were left completely untouched until IWM took over the site in the early 1980s. While preparing the Map Room for public opening, an envelope baring Wing Commander John Heagerty’s name was discovered in a draw. Inside this, hidden since Second World War operations, were three sugar cubes, a treat well-worth hiding given that sugar was rationed. See these sugar cubes exactly where they were left in the Map Room – and also pop into the Churchill Museum, where children can see Churchill’s very own onesie! www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms

In our shop…
Children’s guides, sticker books, activity packs and more… With shops at each branch and online, there’s plenty to browse at IWM. Discover what life was like as a child during wartime with our Children’s War replica pack; try your hand at tiddlywinks or another of our vintage games; construct a model spitfire from wood; or learn the secrets of espionage with IWM’s rear view spy glasses. iwmshop.org.uk/page/58/Kids

WYNDHAM LEWIS Life Art War | 23 June 2017 – 1 January 2017 | Book Now