Imperial War Museums (IWM) reveals its upcoming programme for 2021, including a rich and varied series of exhibitions, events and landmark new openings across all five of IWM’s branches. From air shows to newly acquired artworks, the year ahead will see stories told in newly opened spaces, as well as during after-hours experiences, exploring the causes, course and consequences of war from new perspectives.

Holocaust Survivors exhibition

A concept image The Holocaust Galleries. A patron looking at a display case with objects and photographs related to the Holocaust.
© IWM (A concept image The Holocaust Galleries)

Holocaust Survivors exhibition

Scheduled to open at IWM London next summer, Holocaust Survivors will feature photography by Royal Photographic Society (RPS) patron The Duchess of Cambridge, alongside portraits by photographers Jillian Edelstein HonFRPS and Frederic Aranda, as well as Fellows and members of the RPS.

These powerful portraits will all depict the special connections between survivors and the younger generations of their families. Holocaust Survivors aims to remind visitors of our collective responsibility to remember and share stories about those who endured conflict and persecution.

Second World War and holocaust galleries

A concept image of the V1 flying rocket. Patrons in the new Second World War galleries with the V1 suspended overhead.
© IWM (A concept image of the V1 flying rocket)

Second World War and holocaust galleries

In autumn 2021, IWM will unveil its ground-breaking new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries. Dedicated to conserving, displaying and interpreting stories of the most devastating conflict in human history, the £30.5 million project will see IWM London become the first museum in the world to physically and intellectually present the Holocaust narrative within the context of the Second World War.

Spanning two floors and occupying over 3000m2, these new galleries will bring together the stories of real people from diverse communities to create an accessible, engaging narrative which preserves memory of this era-defining moment for a new generation of museum visitors.

 

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20th Anniversary of 9/11

Twisted wreckage of the World Trade Center
© IWM (Twisted wreckage of the World Trade Centre)

20th Anniversary of 9/11

Marking 20 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, IWM will commemorate the events of 9/11 in 2021, exploring the global scale of the moment and its impact on people’s lives, both in the UK and around the world, through new acquisitions and anniversary events. More information about how IWM intends to mark this anniversary will be shared in 2021.

Poppies Permanent Display

Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window display at IWM North. Red poppies flowing down the side of IWM North.
© IWM (Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window display at IWM North)

Poppies Permanent Display

Following the success of Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window, which toured to IWM London and IWM North during the final year of the First World War centenary, 2021 will see the iconic sculptures return to IWM North and permanently displayed for the first time.

Conceived by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper as part of the Tower of London installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the tour of the poppies sculptures around the UK encouraged millions of people across the country to reflect on their own links to the First World War as a shared experience.

Wartime London: Art of the Blitz

Wartime London art image
© IWM. Two Women with a Child in a Shelter’ by Henry Moore

Wartime London: Art of the Blitz

Highlighting gems from IWM’s art collection, a new art exhibition at Churchill War Rooms will explore the impact of the Second World War on London and its citizens. Focusing particularly on the threat, experience and leadership which forced activity – and people – underground, Wartime London: Art of the Blitz is a carefully curated selection of works from key artists of the era.

At the heart of the exhibition will be three newly acquired Henry Moore drawings from his Shelter series, considered to be some of the most moving and enduring depictions of life during the Blitz. Further collection works include those by Eric Ravilious and Leila Faithful.

Each of these artworks will be displayed on an easel and placed within one of the historic war rooms for the first time, offering visitors an additional perspective on life during the war as they visit Churchill War Rooms.

Tickets to Churchill War Rooms to view the new exhibition are available to book today.

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IWM Duxford

Aircraft flying in formation during an air show at IWM Duxford
IWM

IWM Duxford

Air Shows

2021 will see two Air Shows take place at IWM Duxford over the weekends of 24-25 July and 18-19 September: the Duxford Air Festival and the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show. These will include entertaining ground content and of course, our signature air displays. More information will be shared in the coming months.

Flying Days

Next year will see the introduction of ten Flying Days at IWM Duxford, which will run on various dates from April to October. From D-Day to commemorating the valiant efforts of RAF Duxford’s Squadron 19, each of these Flying Days will be themed and will allow visitors the chance to explore our museum and pop up displays and experiences, before enjoying hours of flying action in the skies.

Find out more

HMS Belfast Reopening

HMS Belfast on the Thames in front of Tower Bridge.
© IWM (HMS Belfast on the Thames)

HMS Belfast Reopening

2021 marks fifty years since HMS Belfast settled at her Thameside home in the heart of London. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, IWM will welcome visitors back on board in summer 2021 for the first time since March 2020, offering unprecedented access to newly opened spaces and a major refresh of existing exhibitions.

From D-Day to the Korean War, refurbished content and brand-new experiences will tell key stories from HMS Belfast’s 25-year service history, revealing the places the ship visited and the lives of the crew on board.