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Imperial War Museum

One of the best museums in the world on military history.

One of the most comprehensive and impressive museums in the world lies 22 miles from Grays in the heart of London in a leafy corner of South west London next to Waterloo station. Imperial War museum was opened in 1917 during the First World War and started as a place that people could go to and see what was happening just a few hundred mils away in France. There it stayed and to this day still bestows on current events of conflict and peace-keeping efforts around the world.

War is of course something not to be celebrated, and it is certainly not being glorified here but as you walk in you walk past 2 huge cannon barrels from a modern warship and then as you enter the actual building come face to face with a real Harrier fighter jet suspended from the ceiling, at this point it's hard not to indulge a little of the boyhood fantasy that went someway to making you enjoy something about conflict.
Thankfully the museum very quickly gets over this and presents a series of technologies spread over 4 floors detailing the arms and equipment and how they were deployed, but also frequently their effects. The museum never indulges in horrific images about these effects but it doesn't need to. It's not subjective in its presentation and doesn't overegg any messages about War being hell, it respects the intelligence of the visitor on this. Each floor deals with a theme, like the Second World War, Korean War, the Cold War and nuclear threats. But it's all done with the perfect balance of information given in digestible snippets, hardware, and interactive digital mechanisms that give information but in a more engaging way.
The most poignant part of the museum is of course the Holocaust exhibition. Here it brilliantly illustrates the history, the causes, the method and the aftermath of the biggest organised practice of mass murder in mankind's history. Not something that will cheer your day but clearly no serious museum on war can leave out this stain on history. Put simply this museum is a must for everyone.

Postcode: SE1 6HZ
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