Sunday, 17 August 2008

HOT: Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road SE1 6HZ

I should visit the Imperial War Museum more often - it's an easy ride down the Bakerloo line to Lambeth and the exhibits are so dense with information that you can only really absorb a small part at a time. Having been moved to tears by my visit to the Somme and Flanders battlefields recently, I skipped most of the uniforms, armoury and general military minutae on display in the WW1 galleries - but I can recommend the informative touchscreen videos and the creepy trench experience reconstruction. There was more of the same in the WW2 galleries before we headed to the upper floors. The Victoria Cross and George Cross (the civilian equivalent of the VC) room housed stories of amazing and admirable feats of bravery, sacrifice and generosity - a small, non-descript corner evidencing man's humanity towards man, in a building filled with many, many instances of man's inhumanity towards man. Due to time, we skipped the Holocaust exhibition (which I highly recommend from my previous visit in 2002) and went straight to a stark white room which showed a video discussing crimes against humanity. In 30 minutes, it explored the sickening possibility that given certain circumstances, we are all capable of committing atrocities against our friends, family and neighbours.

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