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Collection size 10,700,000 items or collections of items. British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. Originally housed in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, the museum opened to the public in 1920. The museum is funded by government grants, charitable donations, and revenue generation through commercial activity such as retailing, licensing, and publishing.
IWM North, but an admission fee is levied at the other branches. Head and shoulders shot of a bald, moustached man looking into the camera. Sir Alfred Mond, photographed between 1910 and 1920. On 27 February 1917 Sir Alfred Mond, a Liberal MP and First Commissioner of Works, wrote to the Prime Minister David Lloyd George to propose the establishment of a National War Museum. This National War Museum Committee set about collecting material to illustrate Britain’s war effort by dividing into subcommittees examining such subjects as the Army, the Navy, the production of munitions, and women’s war work.
The museum was opened by King George V at the Crystal Palace on 9 June 1920. The building, designed by James Lewis was the former Bethlem Royal Hospital which had been vacated following the hospital’s relocation to Beckenham in Kent. With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the museum began to collect material documenting the conflict. In 1953, with Commonwealth forces engaged in Korea and Malaya the museum began its current policy of collecting material from all modern conflicts in which British or Commonwealth forces were involved.
HMS Ramillies, the other from HMS Resolution. In 1966 the Museum’s Southwark building was extended to provide collections storage and other facilities, the first major expansion since the Museum had moved to the site. The development also included a purpose-built cinema. In 1967 the museum acquired a pair of 15-inch naval guns. Later in 1968 on 13 October the Museum was attacked by an arsonist, Timothy John Daly, who claimed he was acting in protest against the exhibition of militarism to children.
200,000, not counting the loss of irreplaceable books and documents. On his conviction in 1969 he was sentenced to four years in prison. In 1969 RAF Duxford, a Royal Air Force fighter airfield in Cambridgeshire was declared surplus to requirements by the Ministry of Defence. Needing further space, the museum duly requested permission to use part of the site as temporary storage. By 1983 the museum was again looking to redevelop the Southwark site and approached engineering firm Arup to plan a phased programme of works that would expand the building’s exhibition space, provide appropriate environmental controls to protect collections, and improve facilities for visitors.
The following year, in April 1984, the Cabinet War Rooms were opened to the public as a branch of the museum. The first phase of the works to the Southwark building started in 1986 and were completed in 1989, during which time the museum was closed to the public. The work included the conversion of what was previously the hospital’s courtyard into a centrepiece Large Exhibits Gallery. In September 1992 the museum was the target of a Provisional Irish Republican Army attack against London tourist attractions.
The second stage of the redevelopment of the Southwark building, during which the museum remained open to the public, was completed in 1994. During the 1990s, while these works were going on, the museum was also seeking to open a branch in the north of England. The following year, 2000, the final phase of the Southwark redevelopment was completed. The development included the installation of the museum’s Holocaust Exhibition which was opened by the Queen on 6 June 2000. Big Lottery Fund’s Veterans Reunited programme to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. In October 2011 the museum rebranded itself as Imperial War Museums, the initials IWM forming the basis of a new corporate logo.
In September 2011 the museum secured funding from NESTA, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Arts Council England to develop ‘social interpretation’ systems to allow visitors to comment on, collect, and share museum objects via social media. In August 2009 the Museum announced the creation of the Imperial War Museum Foundation. Chaired by Jonathon Harmsworth the foundation was charged with raising funds to support the redevelopment of Imperial War Museum London’s permanent galleries. IWM London was formally reopened on 17 July 2014 by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. From the 1970s onwards the Imperial War Museum began to expand onto other sites. The first branch, Imperial War Museum Duxford opened to the public on a regular basis in June 1976. HMS Belfast became a branch of the museum in 1978.