IWM London’s brand new First World War Galleries have been officially opened by the Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister, David Cameron
Atrium at IWM London
The Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister, David Cameron received a tour of the First World War Galleries accompanied by IWM’s Director-General Diane Lees and IWM’s Chairman Sir Francis Richards. Both The Duke of Cambridge and David Cameron were invited to install final objects in showcases to complete the work on the Galleries, which are now open to the public. .
The Duke of Cambridge, David Cameron and Dianne Lees in the atrium of the museum
The Duke of Cambridge installed the gloves of Major James McCudden VC in the Machines Against Men section of the First World War Galleries. Major James McCudden was an airman who shot down more than five enemy planes and received the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest gallantry award, alongside other decorations.
The Atrium at IWM London
David Cameron installed Pals Battalion badges in the ‘Your Country Needs You’ section of the First World War Galleries. He installed the Tyneside Scottish badge, worn by four Pals’ battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers and the 17th Service (1st City and Liverpool Pals) King’s Liverpool Regiment Badge – the badge of the first ‘Pals’ battalion formed on 28 August 1914.
Speaking at the event, The Duke of Cambridge said: “These Galleries bring to life the common effort and the common sacrifices of those who lived through the First World War. Today, I am proud to declare them officially open. In 1920, King George V believed this museum would be an inspiration for future generations. I am very pleased to say it is.”
Prime Minister, David Cameron said: “When I launched our plans for the First World War centenary, I said the renovated IWM London would be the centrepiece of our commemorations – and what a fitting centrepiece it is.
“This wonderful museum succeeds in making this war relevant 100 years on – a national focal point in which we can all take pride and which connects the past with the present to ensure we never forget those who lost their lives to secure our freedom.”
The ground-breaking new First World War Galleries are part of the wider transformation of IWM London, which includes a newly configured Atrium with iconic large object displays and a number of new exhibitions, public spaces, shops and cafés. This £40 million transformation has been made possible with the support of a number of funders, sponsors, trusts, foundations and individuals, including a grant of £6.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £5million from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The Imperial War Museum was established while the First World War was still being fought to ensure that future generations would remember the toil and sacrifice of those affected by it. A hundred years on, IWM continue to collect, record and tell the stories of those who are affected by conflict in Britain and the commonwealth.
Ahead of the galleries opening to the public, CLICK HERE to watch the time-lapse video of the museum’s transformation taking place.