Is that real?
‘Is that real?’ This is a question frequently asked of the large exhibits in IWM London’s atrium. The answer is of course yes. The real question here is why would our visitors question whether we were displaying real historical objects? The answer lies in their display.
The current atrium at IWM London certainly delivers the ‘wow’ factor. The scale of the items on display from the imposing tanks right in front of you to the planes swooping above can certainly take your breath away. But the reason that many visitors question their authenticity is that these objects are displayed out of context. You get little sense of the ‘reality’ of the objects. We want to address this with the display of large objects in the new First World War Galleries.
For the first time we are placing large objects within our new First World War Galleries – a tank, a plane, a howitzer to name a few. Displayed with relevant and related objects within the exhibition, their role and significance can be better explained. Visitors will be able to get a much better appreciation of these objects and, very importantly, of what they did. These impressive looking objects were weapons of war and their new display will explore the impact of these machines on the men suffering their effects and those who used them.
This is the First World War Mark V tank as it is currently displayed in the atrium. There are no related items displayed with the tank.
The proposed new designs place the tank within the First War World Galleries, offering much more context to the display. Here the tank rears menacingly towards the visitor.
Within the exhibition the tank can be displayed with relevant items, like this tank mask worn by 2nd Lieutenant Hassell in the Battle of Cambrai, 20 November 1917. The mask was designed to protect the tank crew from flying metal splinters caused by the impact of bullets hitting the outer steel of the tank’s body.