Our new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries are now open to the public.

These Galleries have been nearly six years in the making. 3000 square metres and spanning two floors at IWM London, they provide a truly global narrative.

With more than 3,500 items and personal stories from over 80 countries, the Galleries continue the story started by our First World War Galleries, and will explain to visitors how, only two decades later, the world was facing a second global conflict and a genocide which would claim the lives of millions of people.

Watch this video for a virtual introduction to our new Galleries from Director-General Di Lees, with insights into their development and approach from Curators James Bulgin, Vikki Hawkins and Kate Clements.

We hope to welcome you to IWM London and to our new Galleries soon.

“it is a stimulating, sensitive and humane exhibition- one that is needed more now, perhaps, than ever.” – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian


“...both galleries are exceptionally well curated.” – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times


“Everyone should see them. Nobody could be unmoved by them and all will benefit.” - Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday


“The Holocaust Gallery is a tremendous achievement.” – Laurence Rees, The Daily Telegraph

More from IWM

  • A school child looks at an exhibit of a concentration camp uniform
    © IWM
    Holocaust Learning sessions for schools



    Why do we study the Holocaust? Why and how did it happen?

    IWM's Holocaust learning session will introduce these questions and support students' enquiry through our new Holocaust galleries.

    Students will use innovative digital technology, have facilitated discussion with IWM experts, and interact with museum objects and stories to learn about this difficult history. 

  • Cover of Total War, a book from IWM
    Total War



    Written by curators Kate Clements, Paul Cornish and Vikki Hawkins, curators of the Second World War Galleries. 


    Total War is an illustrated account of the most pivotal historical episode of the 20th century: the Second World War.


    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.

  • Cover of The Holocaust, a book by James Bulgin
    The Holocaust



    Written by James Bulgin, who led the curation of IWM’s new The Holocaust Galleries. 


    Based on IWM’s ground-breaking new Second World War and Holocaust Galleries, this publication examines the development of the Holocaust as it appeared to those who witnessed it.


    It includes the items that they used, cherished and – in some cases – hid, to ensure that their experiences are meaningfully remembered.


    By telling the story of the Holocaust through objects and their owners, the book highlights the devastating human cost of the genocide and helps readers to understand one of the darkest periods in modern history.

  • L. S. Lowry Painting: Factory workers going to work at the Mather & Platt, Manchester, in the white industrial haze.
    © IWM Art.IWM ART LD 3074
    Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme



    Alongside the opening of new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries, IWM’s Second World War and Holocaust Partnership Programme (SWWHPP) will support eight cultural heritage partners across the UK to engage with new audiences and share hidden or lesser-known, local stories related to these histories.