Items in our Collections come from many sources, from artists and members of the public through to government departments and military personnel.
They all contribute to the richness and diversity of the Collections and the stories they can tell. They inform people of the causes, course and consequences of conflict from the First World War up to today.
If you are interested in offering material for the collections please visit our How to Offer page.
Recent Acquisition Highlights
The Operations Room by Eric Ravilious
Employed as a War Artist from 1940, Eric Ravilious created delicate yet striking watercolours and drawings of ships, aircraft and coastal defences. In May 1942, he was posted to RAF Sawbridgeworth, an airfield in Hertfordshire
The Operations Room is one of the important paintings he created there. It was acquired by IWM in 2020, with generous support from the Art Fund. The artwork complements IWM’s existing collection of Ravilious’ work from his time as a War Artist during the Second World War.
Control Order House by Edmund Clark
Clark is a photographer who investigates forms of institutional and legal control in his work. This project explores a particular form of detention, the Control Order, which was one of several legal measures instigated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. This gave the authorities the power to move a suspect anywhere in the country, to restrict their movements and communications.
This artist’s book is Clark’s response to a period he spent staying in a house with a man known as ‘CE’ who had been placed under a Control Order due to his suspected involvement with terrorist-related activity. Clark spent three days working in the house taking a large number of quick, uncomposed photographs surveying the site. These images, along with architectural plans of the house, redacted documents relating to the case and a diary kept by ‘CE’ form a portrait of sorts: of the site and its inhabitant and of the structure of legal restriction imposed and represented by the house.
Manuscript draft of ‘The General’ by Siegfried Sassoon
This manuscript relates to one of Siegfried Sassoon’s most significant poems, perhaps one of the best known written works to originate from the First World War. Siegfried Sassoon was one of the most famous of the First World War poets. He joined the Army the day before war was declared in 1914. He fought bravely on the Western Front and earned a Military Cross. This highly significant work was written by Sassoon while he was in Denmark Hill Hospital in April 1917. It was first published in his second collection of war poems, Counter Attack, in 1919.
Guantanamo: If the light goes out
Twelve digital colour exhibition prints showing scenes at the US Detainment Facility, Guantanamo Bay, in 2009 from British photographer Edmund Clark’s award winning monograph. Clark was granted exceptional access to photograph in Guantanamo by the US authorities. While working there, Clark was always escorted and worked within the parameters imposed by US camp authorities. He was not permitted to communicate with or identify detainees. His work was subjected to rigorous examination and censorship by US authorities at Guantanamo. His photographs not only document the environment of Guantanamo, but seek to evoke the disorientation central to the experience of interrogation and incarceration.
Saxon patrol vehicle
This Saxon is a veteran of the Afghan conflict, having served with Support Battalion ARRC (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) in Kabul from July 2007 to January 2010. While in Kabul the vehicle was used for city patrols, moving injured people between bases and transporting stores. The Saxon is a variant of the Saxon Armoured Personnel Carrier, upgraded as an ‘urgent operational requirement’ for use in Afghanistan. The Saxon, although quite an elderly design (1983), was identified for use in theatre in relatively low-risk areas of operations.