Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum

infobox London museum
name= Imperial War Museum

imagesize= 200px
established= 1917
location= Lambeth Road, London SE1, England
visitors= 712,000 (2006) []
director= Sir Robert Crawford, CBE
tube= Lambeth North, Waterloo, Southwark, Elephant & Castle
website= []
network= IWM
The Imperial War Museum is a museum in London, England featuring military vehicles, weapons, war memorabilia, an extensive library open to the public Monday to Saturday, a photographic archive, and an art collection of 20th century and later conflicts, especially those involving Britain, and the British Empire. The museum serves as headquarters of a 5-branch system of related facilities. Funding comes partially from government grants as well as individual contributions and revenue generation through retailing, licensing income and other commercial activity. The museum is a Non-Departmental Public Body.

In addition to material artifact holdings, the Imperial War Museum archives houses a large collection of oral recordings of interviews with people who were affected by war in the 20th century. The sound archive has been used for a series of radio programmes and books, called Forgotten Voices, about war in the 20th century, including Forgotten Voices of the Great War and Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust.

Since 1995, the museum's Director General has been Sir Robert Crawford, CBE.


Originally located inside the Imperial Institute (now Imperial College), the Imperial War Museum was moved temporarily to the Crystal Palace, located atop Sydenham Hill. The Museum was founded there in 1917 to commemorate those who had died in the First World War, even though the war had not yet been concluded. When that building burned down on 30 November 1936, a new location was found in Lambeth Road, Southwark. That building, designed by Sydney Smirke, had originally been a psychiatric hospital, Bethlem Royal Hospital (otherwise known as "Bedlam"), located in St. George's Fields. In 1939, the Museum began including displays relating to the Second World War, and then finally in 1953 it began its current policy of including memorabilia from all modern British conflicts.

Visiting the museum

Entrance is free, though there may be charges for special exhibits. Donations are encouraged. It is open daily, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm.

Other branches

The Museum serves as headquarters of a five-branch series of inter-related museums located throughout the United Kingdom. The other branches include:

* The Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms [] :: Located in the bunker which was operational nerve centre of the British government during World War 2.
* HMS Belfast [] :: A light cruiser moored in the Thames.
* The Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridge [] :: An aerospace museum, including many military aircraft.
* The Imperial War Museum North (Manchester) [] :: Opened in 2002 to provide access to the people of the North to the museum's collections.

elected exhibition items

At the entrance to the museum two 15 inch (381 mm) guns can be seen: one from HMS Ramillies the other from HMS Resolution and HMS Roberts.

ee also

* Forgotten Voices of the Great War
* Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust
* Forgotten Voices of the Second World War
* Forgotten Voices of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain
* Forgotten Voices of the Falklands

External links

* [ Official website of the Imperial War Museum]
* [ Location map from]
* [ Historical picture of Bethlem Royal Hospital] (current location of the IWM)
* [ 1999 - Mario Petrucci becomes the Museum's first poet in residence]
* [ Information on the 15" guns outside the museum's main entrance]
* [ The Forgotten Voices website]

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