IWM North

Earth Shard


Running around the walls of the Main Exhibition Space is a Timeline that guides you through key events of twentieth and twenty-first century warfare.

As you follow the Timeline around this space, you will pass large objects from IWM’s collections, artistic impressions of war and six mini exhibitions that we call Silos.

Five chapters of conflict

A father and daughter look into an exhibit at IWM North.

Get a sense of the sights, sounds, touch and feel of war as you explore this Timeline of global conflict.

  • First World War 1914 – 1918
  • Between the Wars 1919 – 1939
  • Second World War 1939 – 1945
  • Cold War 1946 – 1989
  • Into a New Century 1990 – present

Spark conversations

A family look at an exhibit in IWM North

Using personal stories and objects, our six Silos are inspired by the themes that surround all war from 1914 through to the present day. Explore what it is like to live in a world at war, the changing role of women in society, the legacy of conflict and more.  

  • Experience of War
  • Women and War
  • Impressions of War
  • Empire, Commonwealth and War
  • Science, Technology and War
  • Legacy of War

Objects of huge scale

Matilda tank inside the main exhibition space at IWM North

Imperial War Museums cares for thousands of items within our collections. Throughout the Main Exhibition Space, you can get up close to some of our iconic large objects on display.

Gaze up at the US Harrier suspended above the entrance, see a First World War Field Gun and take a moment to reflect as you stand in front of some of the steel remains recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center.

Physical Experience

A couple point out an exhibit at IWM North

The entire architecture of IWM North was purpose-built to address the subject of war. The Main Exhibition Space is no different.

There is a remarkable drop of 8 feet from the entrance of the space to its far end, no natural light and even the temperature fluctuates at different points.

The stories presented in the space are often disorientating and the building’s physicality complements this emotional experience.

Related Stories

Fire fighters tackle fires burning in Manchester during an air raid on 23-24 December.
© IWM (H 6324)
Second World War

The Manchester Blitz

In late autumn 1940, the Blitz spread beyond London to Britain's other major towns and cities. Many were the locations of major war industries. However, it was often their compact commercial centres and residential areas that were most badly affected by air raids.

Chris Cooper Thumbnail
Contemporary conflict

New Contemporary Conflict Display Case at IWM North

From a Darth Vader helmet to a Saddam Hussein loo roll, Senior Curator Chris Cooper take us through his top 5 objects in the a new Contemporary Conflict Display Case at IWM North.

The Crusader sculpture by Gerry Judah - part of the Reactions exhibition at IWM North
© Gerry Judah
Permanent Display

Art at IWM North

IWM North