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A Century of IWM

Director General of IWM

2017 is a momentous year for IWM, as we mark our centenary. IWM was founded on 5 March 1917, when the War Cabinet approved a proposal by Sir Alfred Mond MP for the creation of a national war museum to record the events still taking place during the First World War.

The intention was to collect and display material as a record of everyone’s experiences during that war – civilian and military – and to commemorate the sacrifices of all sections of society. One hundred years later, we continue to collect and tell the stories of those affected by conflict throughout the twentieth and twenty first century.

Every object you see in this museum, every document and item in our vast collection, tells a different story about war and conflict. We acquired a large amount of our collections because people trusted us with them, knowing we would tell their stories to current and future generations.

We've been telling these for a century now and from March we will be highlighting some of the most extraordinary, inspiring and devastating stories from our collections across our five museums. We hope you will support us as we continue to do so, as we hope to reach the widest audience possible.

In addition to commemorating our centenary, we will also look beyond our own past and to today's conflict – just as the founders of IWM reflected upon the conflict we now know as the First World War. As IWM begins its second century, it is important to give a voice to those who are experiencing conflict now as well as those from the past hundred years.