Reasons to remember: Making a New World at the Imperial War Museum

November 11th, 2018 will mark the centenary of the armistice of Compiègne, which set the cease-fire of WWI. 

Many celebrations are set to take place through the weekend all around London and the world.

Among the others, the Imperial War Museum’s Making a New World particularly stands out.

In a way, the IWM is a product of the First World War itself.

Indeed, the museum first opened in 1917, when the conflict hadn’t chased yet. It was built and still stands as a reminder of the Great Britain’s war effort, and for all those who fought or lived during the Great War.

See also:

Making a New World is a series of art exhibitions about the conflicts launched this autumn and there free to visit.

Here is a selection of displays from the project:

  • I Was There – room of voices

On November 11th1918, the armistice determining the end of the Great War was announced. I Was There is an audio installation showcasing the voices of the people who were present at that historical moment. Their descriptions lead the listener through the journey of that day. From the announcement to the joy spreading in the streets, to the scenes of happiness in Trafalgar square. A hundred years later, the emotion in their voice is still alive and vibrant.


  • Renewal – life after the First World War in photographs

The photographic exhibition, divided into three spaces, tells the story of the reconstruction. Self-reconstruction is presented, along with the process of rebuilding the many bombarded cities and reshaping the world. A variety of images shows the human side of the “after” events.


  • Moments of Silence

The multimedia display focuses on the planned but never-realised Hall of Remembrance proposed by the British government after the end of the war. The purpose is to create a space to showcase remembrance rituals. A sign on the door asks the visitors to “think about how, and why, you might remember”.

After my visit, I was lucky enough to meet the writer and documentary producer Richard Van Emden, whose last book 1918: The Decisive Year in Soldiers’ own Word and Photographs just came out last month. The book is made out of a collection of soldiers’ diaries and photographs. What makes it particularly interesting is the fact that the pictures were taken illegally from the soldiers themselves rather than the press or professional photographers.

Here is the story in his own words, as told to Voice of London:

Words: Matilde Moro | Subbing by: Jake Woods | Photography: Matilde Moro

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