Closed, but not for long!

IWM London is now temporarily closed until July 2013 as we begin the first phase of our major transformation project.

Di Lees, our Director-General,  speaks about our major redevelopment project, Transforming IWM London. Watch the video above to hear about our future plans.

This temporary period of closure is allowing us to safely and securely deliver the most disruptive construction works needed to transform our museum.

We will partially reopen in July 2013. You can look forward to our major new family exhibition Horrible Histories®: Spies, launching in July 2013.  We will also have an exciting new programme of art and photography exhibitions in the autumn. The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary HeroesThe Holocaust ExhibitionSecret WarA Family in Wartime and our Explore History Centre will be reopening.

Tell us what updates from behind the scenes you’d most like to read about while we’re closed.

8 comments
  1. BC says: January 24, 201312:08 pm

    I hope that this new redesign will not sacrifice the exhibits and their interpretation in favour of current technological gimmicks and ‘interactive’ displays. Too many museums have had redesigns focusing on interactive technology where the visitor experience can now be recreated through the use of any internet-enabled smartphone or computer and a basic knowledge of using Google and YouTube. The danger with exhibitions relying too heavily on ‘modern’ technology is that in ten years’ time, it will all be laughably out of date and as ridiculous as having a VHS player playing distorted tapes through a 1980s TV. From personal experience, such ‘interactive’ displays invariably break, leaving the visitor faced with ‘Out of Action’ notices and all the frustrations of a software malfunction that could be just as easily enjoyed on a home pc.

    Two of the most enjoyable experiences in the old IWM London displays were the Trench and Blitz Experiences, where visitors could physically discover a recreated scene with sound and light, and which would be difficult to reproduce if you are merely stood in front of a computer screen looking at a virtual model that you could probably design yourself. And I do hope you won’t have any of these screens where an ‘actor’ pretends to be Corporal Jim Bloggs or the like and is about as convincing as Dick Van Dyke as Bert the Cockney…

    Apart from that, good luck with the relaunch!

  2. Freddie says: January 26, 20131:27 pm

    Although I thoroughly agree that the First World War gallery needs updating and am looking forward to its increased size and seeing more of the large objects “in perspective”, I can’t help but agree with BC’s comment; Interactive displays invariably break, are never as good as hoped for and one can normally see the same material online. They just don’t have the same appeal as seeing a helmet with a hole in it or or a muddy entrenching tool whcih was actually around at the time. Also, the picture in an earlier blog of where the tank is to be displayed leaves me disappointed. Impressive and awesome it may be, but if it is leering several feet above you, how are you to get a good look at all of it.

    I am also disappointed with the designs for the new main hall; The design lacks the “wow” factor of the old one and the lovely brick walls seem to have been sacrificed for a more modern looking material which also makes the space seem smaller.

    As a child, I was always amazed whenever I entered the museum and looked around at all the grand machines but now you seem to be trying to hide them away on balconies. How can one get a sense of the machine if it is pointing off the edge of a balcony? It is too high up to be seen from below and if you are on the same floor then you can’t see the best part of the tank as its barrel is pointing away from you.

    I am even more disappointed in these designs than the ones for the Natural History Museum although I am hoping that it all turns out well.

    P.S. Are you keeping the old “Trench Experience”? If not why not?

    • Allison says: January 29, 201312:53 pm

      Hi Freddie, There will be a trench in our new First World War Galleries where you’ll be able to get a feel for what it was like to be at the front lines 100 years ago. Thanks for checking in!

  3. Isaac says: February 11, 20137:28 am

    I’d like to echo Freddie’s comment above:

    “As a child, I was always amazed whenever I entered the museum and looked around at all the grand machines but now you seem to be trying to hide them away on balconies. How can one get a sense of the machine if it is pointing off the edge of a balcony? It is too high up to be seen from below and if you are on the same floor then you can’t see the best part of the tank as its barrel is pointing away from you.”

    This was my immediate thought when I first saw the plans at the museum. One of the great things about the old atrium was being able to get really close to the objects on the floor – being able to walk around them and get a sense of their size and power. It feels as if the new layout, with objects hidden between fins, puts more distance between the viewer and the subject. As Freddie comments above you would be able to see the front a tank from a distance, but not when you’re up close and on the same level. It would be a great shame if the best parts of the old museum were lost in the new design.

  4. David says: February 19, 20137:39 am

    Will the 1940s house still be there?

    • Allison says: February 19, 20138:40 am

      Hi David. The 1940s House was permanently closed in December 2011 in preparation for Transforming IWM London. When we partially reopen in July 2013 we will be launching our major new family exhibition Horrible Histories®: Spies. We will also be reopening A Family in Wartime, our permanent exhibition looking at the Home Front through the eyes of the Allpress family, who lived in Wandsworth during the Second World War. Thanks for getting in touch!

  5. laurence williams says: July 26, 20134:11 pm

    I recently visited IWM north in Salford and was shocked how poor the museum is. A handful of exhibits displayed in a way which panders to the contemporarily popular notion that “meaning and a message” has to be conveyed for people to understand what war is alll about. Thoroughly patronising and totally uninformative. i sincerely hope the same people aren’t going to ruin the IWm in London in a similar way.

    • David says: July 29, 201311:13 am

      Hi Laurence,

      Thank you for your feedback – I’m sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your visit to IWM North. As I am sure you are aware IWM London partially re-opens this week and fully re-opens in summer 2014 in time for the First World War Centenary.

      Our new First World War Galleries are a major part of IWM’s contribution to the Centenary of the First World War and the galleries will use the latest historical research, our exceptional collections and innovative technology to offer new stories and new perspectives on the first global war.

      I hope that you are able to visit us in 2014 and that you enjoy our new galleries and atrium when you visit.

      Kind regards,

      David

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