IWM Blog

  • Projection of a man lying on a floor
    Photo Bartosz Górka

    Finding an artist for the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund

    In summer 2023, Imperial War Museums (IWM) worked with Art School Plus and The Brickworks Museum to offer an exciting commissioning opportunity to an early-career artist as part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund. The programme supports more than 20 cultural organisations from across the UK to commission ambitious new artworks inspired by the heritage of conflict, created by world-leading and emerging contemporary artists.
  • People walking around art exhibition
    Blog: Arts and Culture

    Behind the Bastion

    When the UK Armed Forces deploy overseas, they operate out of static locations known as operational bases. Historically and through to present day, troops on deployment personalise these spaces through a range of ‘placemaking’ activities, including displaying photos, creating murals, building furniture, and erecting signposts. Behind the Bastion engaged with veterans of the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan, currently based in the Lincolnshire area, to reflect on what ‘home’ means to them today and what it meant whilst deployed.
  • Projection of First World War soldiers, November 2022
    © University of Kent
    Blog: Arts and Culture

    Reflections on Walking with Ghosts

    This month, Walking with Ghosts returned to Folkestone Harbour Arm Station. The immersive outdoor artwork had a powerful impact on audiences last year when it premiered at the historic station where so many crossed to and from the battlefields during the First World War. In this blog post, Professor Helen Brooks from University of Kent reflects on the impact of this powerful commission, part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund programme.
  • A wall of black and white images of Second World War pilots
    © American Library
    Blog: Memorials

    Celebrating 60 years of the American Library

    2023 marks 60 years since the first Memorial Library dedicated to the 2nd Air Division of the 8TH Air Force of the United States Army Forces (USAAF) was opened in Norwich, Norfolk. Today the library retains the identity first envisaged for it – that of a living memorial, a place where there is a shrine to the dead and a daily exchange of American thoughts and ideals. In this blog post, Orla Kennelly of the American Library shares details on this unique memorial and library.
  • Dancers performing on stage
    Courtesy of Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries
    Blog: Arts and Culture

    The Mother of Tension: An IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commission

    Inspired by collections at Nottinghamshire Archives and Imperial War Museum, The Mother of Tension featured a group of talented young dancers from across the Midlands in a ground-breaking new Hip Hop dance theatre performance exploring themes of conflict through lived experiences. In this guest post, Ruth Imeson from Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries shares details of the historical collections that shaped the performance.
  •  image: stylised depictions of two lions, one based on the coat of arms of Great Britain, the other based on the coat of arm of Ceylon. On the left, the British lion stand before a Union Flag; and on the right, the Ceylon lion wears a headdress, holds a knife in its paw, and stands before a Ceylon flag.
    © IWM Art.IWM PST 15957
    Blog: Second World War

    Framing Partnership by moving ‘Forward Together’: Ceylon in British Propaganda during the Second World War

    Britain’s entry into the Second World War in 1939 affected not only the island nation but also the many areas of the globe that formed its empire. In order to urge all her colonial subjects to contribute towards the war effort, colonial authorities used propaganda in the form of posters, films, and more. In this guest blog post, researchers Nihara De Alwis and Lara Wijesuriya share how posters were adapted and framed according to the colony and area in which they were to be used, to sell the ‘product’ of empire most successfully.
  • Survivors and their descendants at the Nowogrudek memorial, 1993
    Survivors and their descendants at the Nowogrudek memorial, 1993. Courtesy of the Kagan family
    Blog: Holocaust

    80 years on: the escape of Jack Kagan (BEM) during the Holocaust

    On 26 September 1943, 250 Jewish prisoners escaped from a tunnel that they had dug to escape the Novogrudok Ghetto and Labour Camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. 170 survivors of the escape went on to fight with Jewish partisans in the forests, made famous in the film Defiance. In this blog post, we share the story of one of the men who escaped that day - the late Jack Kagan BEM (born Idel Kagan in 1929).
  • USAF Bunker at Alconbury with items from the former runway
    Blog: Cold War

    Learning to Remember The Cold War

    In recent years, there has been a remarkable surge in interest surrounding the preservation and exploration of Cold War heritage in the UK, the US, and Western Europe. Dr Peter Robinson of Leeds Beckett University shares details of a project to explore the curatorship and memory of Cold War heritage in both Eastern and Western Europe, focusing on visitor engagement and experience.
  • Historical Unit of Southern California members (Shelby second from left) representing the American Women's Army Corps

    Historical Reenactment and Living History: a guide for teachers

    Shelby Anderson is a 5th year social science teacher at Laguna Beach High School in California, USA, teaching U.S. History and Human Geography. Additionally, she serves as the Educational Outreach Coordinator Board of Directors for the Historical Unit of Southern California and represents the Women’s Army Corps when participating in living history activities. In this post, Shelby shares some of her advice on bringing history to life through engaging reenactors.
  • Advert for The Gold Kimono serial, 1930
    Blog: Literature

    Being Vigilant: Fighting the Red Shadow (1932), Spy Writers and Confronting the ‘Red Menace’ in Inter-War Britain

    Dr Alan Burton shares some of his research as part of the AHRC-funded 'Writers in Intelligence' project. The project focuses on writers of spy fiction who also served in the real world of espionage, and this post focuses on the inter-war years in Britain.
  • War Memorial at Athens War Museum, Taken by Author with Museum’s Permission in July 2023

    Help From Afar: The Greek Contribution in the Korean War and How it Has Been Remembered

    July 2023 marked 70 years since the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement on 27 July 1953, an armistice which ended direct hostilities between North Korea and South Korea. In this post, IWM War Memorials Register Volunteer Konstantina Vardavoulia reflects on the Greek involvement in the conflict, and how it is remembered today.