Being an avid museum goer, I was always conscious that I had never been to the Imperial War Musuem, London! So we headed there a few weeks ago to check out the new galleries and redevelopment of the Museum.
The new central atrium has planes and vehicles suspended and jutting out of the architecture – reminiscent of the Science Museum – which makes for an impressive entrance into the museum, although a bit tricky will all the stairs, as you find yourself looking up and not where you are going!
The main collection is centered around a series of balcony sections over several floors, all with a view into the main atrium.
As our little man is still quite small we didn’t have to deal with any difficult questions (yet) around the function of the objects in the collection as he was happy enough to identify the different types of transport and have a bit of a run around. He was very taken by the various planes and is a bit of a plane spotter when we are out and about!
It’s not the most family friendly museum we’ve been to (but then again the subject matter isn’t exactly balloons and bunnies) and there wasn’t much in the way of interactives for children so we spent quite a bit of time making sure we didn’t leave any jammy fingerprints on the collection! 😳
We did really like the ‘A Family In Wartime’ gallery, which had room mock-ups and some nice interactives including radios that you could turn on and off and (I’m guessing quite expensive!) touch screens to explore the different rooms in a house. This gallery also had an air raid shelter that you could go into and had a good sense of atmosphere so we spent quite a bit of time in there.
The Secret War gallery was also an great winding gallery space with lots of interesting objects on display. It would have been nice to explore this gallery more fully but by this point the little man clearly thought this gallery was a race course for himself and daddy so we had a job keeping up! (We also realised once we reached the end that somehow we had managed to do the whole thing backwards… which might not have helped!!)
We will certainly be back. I think for the time being with the little man the age he is, it will be a case of having a few of the galleries we really like and then expanding once he is ready to move beyond the plain spotting!