An introduction to the transformation of IWM London

IWM London exterior with naval guns

Hello and welcome!

The First World War was a turning point in world history. Claiming the lives of over 16 million people across the globe most people in the world have a connection to it, either through their own family history, links to their local community or because of its long term impact on the world we live in today.

It was during this time that IWM (Imperial War Museums) was founded as a lasting memorial to all those who played their part in the conflict, be that at home or on the fighting front and we continue in this role today.

2014 – 2018 is the centenary of the First World War – a landmark for Britain and the world.

We need to ensure we have a long lasting legacy from the centenary. And so we will be delivering the first phase of our £35m transformation of IWM London, our flagship branch by 2014. IWM London last saw significant investment in the late 1980s.

We are now working with architects Foster + Partners to create new significantly larger First World War Galleries, allowing us to display much more of our exceptional First World War collections. We will be reconfiguring the Central Hall at the heart of the museum creating larger galleries throughout and re-interpreting our iconic large objects to make it easier to understand their historical significance and context. We will have additional gallery space at the top of the museum for exhibitions relating to contemporary conflicts and as all good museums need, a new café opening onto the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park and a new shop.

Concept for IWM Central Hall

Concept for IWM Central Hall © Foster + Partners

This blog will be a focal point for finding out the latest on how IWM London is transforming. From the historians and curators, to those who greet you as you walk through the main doors and the man who dusts the tanks, this blog is written by staff from across the museum who are involved in this major redevelopment project. We will be reporting what’s happening behind the scenes, documenting the process of transformation for you.

And while 2014 may seem like a long time away, especially in a year when there’s so much going on, it will hit us before we know it.

See the transformation in pictures in our online photo gallery on Flickr.

Join in the conversation, if you have any questions or comments, we want to hear from you.

Thanks for reading – and for joining us on this journey.

Diane Lees,
Director-General, IWM


*The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of IWM.

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