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Imperial War Museum - a life changing visit!
Imperial War Museum (London)
Member Name: martinjones22
Imperial War Museum (London)
Advantages: Interesting, insightful, brings historical moments to life and explains them well
Disadvantages: Needs a very long time to enjoy it all
We visited the Imperial War Museum as part of our London holiday. The museum is quite easy to find, around five minutes taxi ride from Big Ben, London Eye and the Houses of Parliament and is opposite the Days Hotel Waterloo. Its nearest tube station is Lambeth North, around 10 minutes walk from the museum.
It is an unmistakable and grandiose building, its large green St.Paul's Cathedral-esque dome dominates the local area and makes the museum quite easy to find! It is unmissable due to the two enormous guns outside the building!
Admission to the museum is free, as is the case with all of the major museums in London. Visitors are asked to make a donation, and i can assure you £5 is a tiny price to pay for what you get! On arrival security will search your bags so anyone with a bag shouldnt keep too much in there, otherwise you may be waiting around for a while!
On arrival you are also given the opportunity to purchase guide books and this is something i would definitely recommend, there is so much to see and do in the museum and the guide book really helps and gives background information on the objects you are seeing and why they are important.
The most striking memory from our visit was the Holocaust Exhibit. I have a particular interest in World War 2 and, despite the horrific stories, I have always found it difficult to truly come to terms with the enormity of the holocaust as it was just numbers to me and didnt really have a human face if that makes sense. I have read both Mein Kampf and the Diary of Anne Frank, and therefore the Holocaust Exhibit provided me with a very interesting experience.
I must say, it is one of the most emotional and powerful things I have ever seen in my life. The exhibit begins pre World War 2 and chronicles Hitler's rise to power, changes in Germany, persecution of Jews, Crystal Night and the slope toward the 'Final Solution'. The Holocaust Exhibit gives visitors a massive insight into the Holocaust and its messages hit home so hard. It is a fascinating, powerful, emotional and often disturbing exhibit that will leave a mark on anyone who visits it. It is an absolute must see, and is definitely something I will never forget. We spent two hours in the exhibit and could have spent a lot longer there. You really cannot underestimate the power and lasting impression of this exhibit that is so immaculately put together and is a real testament to the museum and its curators.
Away from the holocaust exhibit there is a huge range of war items, stories and memorabilia, some of which are hundreds of years old. It is a huge and detailed museum that has literally thousands of things to see - visitors are able to sit inside a real tank, walk through a war time trench, see war time planes and even touch the real bronze German Eagle from the Reichstag - one of the iconic items of history. We could not find the German Eagle at first so asked one of the attendants who was friendly, knowledgeable and polite.
Visitors could spend an entire day in the Imperial War Museum and still not see everything they would like to see. There are hundreds of photo opportunities (although not inside the holocaust exhibit as its not allowed, presumably to show respect) within the museum, there is a cafe and thankfully there are lots of places to sit as the museum can be very tiring!
The Imperial War Museum is absolutely superb, so well put together and you literally cannot look anywhere without seeing something interesting. For visitors who go to the Holocaust Exhibit, i can guarantee you wont be the same coming out as you were going in - an absolute must see and is more powerful than any of the tanks on show.
Summary: Holocaust Exhibit is worth the visit itself - more powerful than any gun!
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