Category Archives: Museums

London - Museums

Museum Musings: Imperial War Museum London

This year I’ll be doing another round of selected museums and seeing which one is truly worth your time to visit! To make it all scientific and as logical as possible, I’ve concocted a grading system so we can compare each place on its own merits and really find out what makes it tick.

The criteria I’ve been judging are: How easy is it to find your way around? Did they arrange all the exhibits in a way that make sense or leave you more confused than the Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror? Is it far from the city centre? Can I combine it with something else in the area? To top it all off, there are extra points to be had for places with a wow factor, because let’s face it…that sometimes makes all the difference.

The Imperial War Museum showcases a comprehensive overview of the military conflicts and wars that UK had to deal with since the beginning of the WWI.

Location – 11/20
The Imperial War Museum is located about 5-15 minutes’ walking distance from the tube stations Waterloo (on the Bakerloo, Jubilee and Northern lines), Lambeth North (Bakerloo) and Elephant & Castle (on the Bakerloo and Northern Lines).

You could combine it with a visit to Mercato Metropolitano.

Exhibits – 14/20
The ground floor covers the First World War, the next level up is on the Second World War, one higher and you’ll find a selection of the more modern wars (cold war and spies!), and then there is the Holocaust exhibit on the top floor. The First World War has been refurbished and brought up to date with super flashy and modern ways of story telling.

This does mean that it leaves the WWII and Modern War area feel a bit outdated, but I was told they will be working on that next.

The most relatable part in the WII section was following the family Allpress and their day-to-day life during the Blitz. As someone who grew up in a war I know a bit about having a bomb shelter in the backyard, food rations and my mom unpicking an old knit jumper of hers to make one for my and my baby brother.

Value For Money 20/20
Like most museums in London anyone can browse the permanent collection for free. So that’s a full 20.

Wow Factor – 14/20
For a museum focused on war, there’s not really a ‘wow’ factor so to speak, but it’s more an emotional impact, which this place definitely offers.

Layout – 12/20
You enter the main hall with its tanks and planes, then from there, you can walk into different floors, each highlighting a different War. The idea is that you follow a route on each floor and each section so in theory it should be easy to get though, but that only works for the WWI exhibition as it has a clear path. The other floors have too much open space and entrance points for it to be as smooth it could be.

Total: all in 71/100 points. Especially in this time and age this is a museum we all should go to. I believe it’s essential to remember what terrifying things humans are capable and museums like these are an important reminder of that.