IWM’s collection covers all aspects of conflict involving Britain, its former Empire and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present day.  Everything we hold tells a story about the experiences of men, women and children caught up in conflict - from works by great artists, filmmakers and photographers to aircraft, tanks and firearms, and from intensely personal diaries, letters and keepsakes to pamphlets, posters and proclamations. These are among the most important personal, political, cultural and technological items held by any museum, nationally or internationally. Together, they reveal the experiences of conflict for the people who created, used and cared for them.

IWM supports and encourages research into the collection, which is open to the public by appointment. You can find out more about accessing the collections on our Research Facilities page. 

You can also find out more about how we manage and develop our collections from conservation and digitisation, how we review the collection, and how to offer material

Browse our collections

An unnaturally bright sun blazes over a landscape with a river. There is an aircraft flying over the desert in the lower right of the composition.
Art.IWM ART 4623
Art and Design
IWM's exceptional Art collection is one of the most important representations of twentieth century British art in the world
Staple bound, feint ruled exercise book containing newspaper cuttings adhered to its pages
LBY K. 74101-1
Books and Publications
IWM holds a large collection of published material relating to twentieth and twenty-first-century conflict.
Second World War Air Raid Precautions gas mask card and three bus tickets bearing the war-time slogan 'Beat the paper hanger be a paper-saver'.
Documents.8848
Documents
Our documents cover a wealth of personal experience and testimony, both British and foreign, as well as official records.
Section of twisted and rusted steelwork from the collapsed World Trade Center, New York
EPH 10364.2
Exhibits
IWM cares for over 155,000 three-dimensional objects.
Night time scene showing a bombed building on fire in London during the Blitz, 1940.
© IWM (HU 67287)
Film
Our constantly growing collection now extends to over 23,000 hours of moving images.
A VIEW LOOKING OVER THE CAMERON HIGHLANDS, MALAYA (CIRCA 1950s).
© IWM (TR 6363) Central Office Of Information
Photographs
IWM currently holds nearly 11 million photographs, covering all aspects of modern conflict from the Crimean War to the present day
Sound Archive
The Sound Archive holds over 33,000 recordings relating to conflict since 1914. This consists of the largest oral history collection of its type in the world, with contributions from both service personnel and non-combatants as well as significant holdings of speeches, sound effects, broadcasts, poetry and music.
WOMEN'S ROYAL NAVAL SERVICE.
IWM A 10763
Museum Administrative Records
The museum archive manages IWM’s own administrative records, which date back to its foundation in 1917. They are public records and researchers may search some of the records online or book an appointment at the IWM London Research Room to consult these records.

Related IWM projects

War Memorial at Kew
© IWM (Q 48872)
War Memorials Register
Search the War Memorials Register - a comprehensive national register of UK war memorials and the names of the individuals they commemorate.
Lives of the First World War Promo Image
IWM Q649
Lives of the First World War
IWM’s Lives of the First World War tells the stories of individuals from across Britain and the Commonwealth who served in uniform and worked on the home front. 
Still from the British film "The Battle of the Somme".
© IWM (Q 79501)
First World War Centenary Partnership
The First World War Centenary Programme is a vibrant global programme of cultural events, exhibitions and activities, and online resources that connect current and future generations with the lives, stories and impact of the First World War. 
English boys visting an 8th Air Force base are given an introduction to baseball by USAAF personnel.
© FRE 13671
American Air Museum Online Archive
The American Air Museum website records the stories of the men and women of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) who served their country from the UK in the Second World War. It also records the memories of the British people who befriended them.