This week Alice and Nicolas have a special treat for you: the first episode of a two-part mini-series on the Imperial War Museum’s recently redesigned WWI, WWII and Holocaust Galleries. The WWI Galleries are already open to the public and will be the focus of this week’s episode. In a couple of weeks, the second part of this mini-series will then take a closer look at the WWII and Holocaust Galleries, which will open on the 20th of October 2021.
With us on the show today are Sir Hew Strachan, a world-leading authority on Britain’s military history and WWI in particular, and academic advisor on the 2014 design of the WWI Galleries; James Taylor, Assistant Director Narrative and Content at the Imperial War Museums; and Vicki Hawkins and Kate Clements, curators for the IWM's new WWII galleries. They give us exclusive insight into the planning and processes behind this enormous project of redesigning the galleries, which make thousands of objects come to life, many for the first time.
Among other topics, we discuss
– the influence of wide-spread myths about WWI, the need to bust those myths and the best ways to do that
– the collaboration between curators and academic advisors and trustees
– the history and development of the Imperial War Museum and its approach to narrating past and present conflicts
– the challenges involved in presenting a global conflict in all its diversity, doing justice to its impact on the home front just as much as to the events and suffering in so many different theatres of war across the world
– the challenges of making individual, personal voices heard while setting them in their global context
– the processes of selecting objects and the best ways to narrate their story
– James, Hew, Vicki and Kate’s favourite objects, and
– how the work on the WWI galleries has influenced the design of the WWII and Holocaust galleries
We hope you enjoy the episode!
For a version of our podcast with close captions, please listen here. To find out more about the IWM's WWI, WWII and Holocaust Galleries, do visit the website of the Imperial War Museum and for more background about modern wars and conflicts, be sure to tune in to James Taylor’s new podcast series, Conflict of Interest.
For more information about individuals and their projects, access to resources and more, please have a look on the University of St Andrews Visualising War website.
Music composed by Jonathan Young
Sound mixing by Zofia Guertin