Permanent

IWM London

Free exhibition

IWM London’s Second World War Galleries display over 1,500 collection items that bring to life a war which affected millions of people from around the world, from London to Russia, to New Zealand, to China and the Philippines.

It is a war with which everyone will have a personal connection.

Dedicated to conserving, displaying and interpreting stories of the most devastating conflict in human history, IWM London is the first museum in the world to house Second World War Galleries and The Holocaust Galleries under the same roof. These galleries will change the way we understand the past for generations to come.

Spanning two floors, these vast new, award-winning galleries bring together the stories of real people from diverse communities to examine the complex relationship between the Holocaust and the course and consequences of the Second World War.

2022 winner of the 'Museum + Heritage' Permanent Exhibition of the Year.

Personal stories

Second World War Galleries
©IWM

The Second World War and the Holocaust will soon pass out of living memory, leaving us without the first-hand testimony of veterans, eyewitnesses and survivors. IWM’s new galleries preserve their stories and ensure the world never forgets what they experienced.

The new galleries bring together significant new acquisitions and loans, alongside items from IWM’s collections, including the first piece of wreckage of the USS Arizona, sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941, ever to be displayed outside of the United States.

Unseen objects, untold stories, unheard voices

Visitor explore the Second World War exhibition
©IWM

Through these unseen objects, untold stories and unheard voices, together with the newest research and technology, gain an understanding about the most devastating conflict in modern global history and the genocide of the Holocaust.

Learn More

Cover of Total War, a book from IWM

Total War is an illustrated account of the most pivotal historical episode of the 20th century: the Second World War. It was not one single event, but rather the confluence of many simultaneous conflicts across the globe – on land, in the air, across the sea and beneath it. 

This authoritative, immersive account of a conflict that forever reshaped the geopolitical landscape is told not only through compelling photographs of wartime events and detailed maps, but also through a series of artefacts that convey the real-life stories of those involved, from Europe, Asia, the United States and beyond.

Published to coincide with the much-anticipated opening of the new Second World War and Holocaust galleries at Imperial War Museum London, in 2021, this is an essential book for anyone with an interest in the everyday realities of one of the most brutal and significant wars in modern history.

Buy now >

Discover more at IWM London

Holocaust exhibition with two visitors
© IWM
Permanent Gallery

The Holocaust Galleries

IWM London
Permanent

First World War Galleries
© IWM
Permanent Gallery

First World War Galleries

IWM London
Permanent

Ashcroft Gallery view
IWM
Permanent Gallery

Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes

IWM London
Permanent

The Second World War

Civilians with baggage wait to board trucks
© IWM BU 6629
Second World War

What happened to people displaced by the Second World War?

The Second World War ended in 1945, but the consequences continued for many years afterwards. Find out what happened to people displaced by the Second World War. 

Evacuated troops on a destroyer about to berth at Dover, 31 May 1940.
© IWM (H 1637)
Second World War

The Photographers And Filmmakers Who Captured The Second World War

When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, just one Army photographer, Geoffrey Keating, and one cameraman, Harry Rignold, accompanied the British Expeditionary Force to France. On 24 October 1941, the Army agreed to form a corps of trained photographers and cameramen.

Winston Churchill making his signature V sign
Second World War

Where does 'V for Victory' come from?

Winston's Churchill's V for Victory sign is perhaps one the most iconic of the Second World War, but where does it come from?