Thursday, 26 June 2014

The First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM now has 2,908 member organisations...

The First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM now has 2,908 member organisations from across 49 countries and their collective programme of events and activities can be found at www.1914.org . The Partnership is made up of educational and cultural not for profit organisations with plans to commemorate the centenary, in a way that is meaningful to them. To date there are 2,112 events planned and taking place across the world.  I encourage you to find out what is happening in your area at www.1914.org
and I would be grateful if you could spread the word about the First World War Centenary Partnership to those who might benefit from the support and assets IWM is providing to all members.

Lives of the First World War (www.livesofthefirstworldwar.org ) launched on 12 May and to date 23,069 people have been remembered online and 18,181 images have been uploaded to the site. Over the course of the Centenary, Lives of the First World War will become a permanent digital memorial to over 8 million men and women who contributed in uniform and worked on the home front. We are encouraging everybody to help piece together the life stories of each person on the site – by uploading a picture from their family album, sharing a story passed down through generations or by connecting official records to build a full and factual picture of their experiences during the war. The site launched with the records of those who served with the British Army overseas – over 4.5 million men and 40,000 women. Over the coming weeks and months, millions of additional new records will be added – from the Royal Flying Corp/Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Australian and New Zealand Imperial Forces  along with almost 17,000 conscientious objectors. IWM is also seeking to include the Indian Army, Home Front workers and all others who made a contribution.

On 19 July, IWM London will reopen to the public, revealing  brand new First World War Galleries and a transformed museum.  These new Galleries, which are free to the public, will allow audiences young and old to explore what the First World War was like, in depth. Visitors will experience the sights, smells and sounds of the recreated trench, see what life was like  at the front with the Sopwith Camel fighter plane and Mark V tank looming above, learn of the terrible strain the war placed on people and communities and discover the role that women and children played on the home front. Visitors can consider some of the big questions and choices, ordinary and extraordinary, that the people of Britain and its former Empire had to face in this first ‘total war’ and discuss the impact the conflict had on the world in which we live today.

In addition to the new First World War Galleries,  Truth and Memory; British Art of the First World War will also open on 19 July. This exhibition will be the largest and first major retrospective of British World War art for almost 100 years, featuring over 110 artworks. In addition to the Galleries and exhibition, there will be a wide range of events and talks covering aspects such as the legacy of women in the First World War, why soldiers fight and poems from the front.

From Street to Trench: A War that Shaped a Nation opened at IWM North in April of this year and features 200  objects, films, sound recordings, photographs artworks that explore how the war affected the region. At IWM Duxford, Duxford During the First World War tours will be available throughout the summer and the September Airshow will see replica First World War aircraft  on display including a Nieuport 17 as well as the Great War Display Team, comprising two 7/8 scale Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5 aircraft, two 7/8 scale JunkersCLI aircraft, a Sopwith Triplane, a Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2 aircraft and a Fokker Triplane DR1.

IWM also has a wide range of educational and research initiatives focussed on the First World War.  From Whose Remembrance – a research project to investigate the state of research into colonial troops and labourers in the two world wars to  projects with Youth Panels  and free online learning resources.  There is also a huge amount of history content online at www.iwm.org.uk including our podcasts Voices of the First World War

IWM continues to work with publications and broadcasters to encourage the widest possible engagement with the Centenary as possible. From children's programmes, drama, documentaries and archive restorations, IWM is working with a wide-range of partners to engage with the public through a multi-platform approach that extends beyond the boundaries of the museum walls.  IWM is actively meeting people around the country too as part of the BBC World War One at Home Tour, that continues throughout the summer.

Our work to commemorate the Centenary continues well beyond 2014. We are developing and rolling out plans to ensure that we continue to reach and engage with the widest possible audience with the subject of the First World War and the Centenary over the coming four years.

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 who were impacted by it. I do hope that you will support us as we continue our founding mission in 2014 and beyond.

I also hope to  welcome you to IWM London in the near future too.

Very best wishes

Diane Lees
Director-General

Imperial War Museums
Lambeth Road
London SE1 6HZ
T: 020 7416 5206/7
W: iwm.org.uk
Centenary news and resources: www.1914.org