The Imperial war Museum is not just a museum that glorifies war, despite what you might think. This museum is, like every museum, an archive of what was. As you walk up to the museum you are greeted by two huge guns (12 inch if I can remember) from a battle ship. As you walk in, above you are a collection of Britain’s war planes; a sopwith camel, made famous by Snoopy, to a spitfire. On the floor are a collection of tanks, both from the allies and from the axis(?) powers. There are “memories” of the war with a set of searchlights on the floor anchoring the multimedia displays.
There are two exhibits of special note; the first is about British children during the war (I will verify the correct name later) showing how the children managed during the Second World War. They cover everything, home life, school, and play, food and life after the war. The exhibit revolves around a 1940’s house, the bedrooms, kitchen and living rooms. What was typical, and the rationing and conservation that was needed. I happened to go through this exhibit with a group of school children, (8-10 year olds)
The war is only history to me; I was born 16 years after the war as part of the baby boom. As well, there has not been a war in Canada. There is very little I can directly relate to. I know about rationing in Canada, my grandfather worked as a concessionaire and the old Montreal Forum (he sold candy) and was able to bring extra candy home for my mom and her brothers; but this too is not part of my personal history. I am at a loss when it comes to the war.
The second exhibit is about the Holocaust. The Holocaust is explained using artifacts, models, multimedia presentations and personal histories. Its causes, the victims and the perpetrators are all examined. The exhibit also examines the reactions throughout the world and the response to it.
This was one of the most difficult Holocaust exhibits I have seen. I think partly because It was so close to where it actually happened. I don’t really know.
I also was able to get to Old Spitalfields Market. It was a bit disappointing, there were not many vendors and they were doing major renovations to the building. Can’t have everything.