IWMN at The Quays

From spies to submarines and life on the Home Front, Imperial War Museums (IWM) will bring history into the homes of families across the world as part of its brand-new digital programme, sharing unique and personal stories from our extraordinary collections.

In the coming weeks, families will be introduced to the real life experiences of individuals such as John Allpress whose father, during the Second World War, built an Anderson shelter that his family grew vegetables on top of in their garden, and Kitty Baxter who spent nights in a communal bomb shelter in Camberwell with her family. Their stories will feature in IWM’s first instalment of Adventures in History, a weekly series of new videos exploring different themes of war and conflict. Week one will see IWM’s Learning Producer Ngaire Bushell broadcast from her Second World War houseboat to share eyewitness accounts of real people who experienced life in air raid shelters during the Blitz.

To complement these videos, IWM will also be setting a weekly series of fun challenges, games and activities inspired by our stories and collections. Family Mission will encourage viewers to get hands-on and put learning to the test. Week one’s mission takes inspiration from the Hill family who were separated during the Second World War and whose 25-word messages delivered by the Red Cross, now in IWM’s collection, were their only form of communication. Drawing on this story, families will be invited to write to us in 25 words and share their experiences of being at home.

From Wednesday 8 April, IWM experts and family favourite CBBC presenter Ben Shires, will introduce viewers at home to a different weekly theme inspired by the national curriculum, giving ingenious, surprising and moving perspectives on history that children would not normally hear in the classroom. Adventures in History will see a new video uploaded on IWM’s YouTube channel and website every Wednesday at 2pm. Families will have the opportunity to get their questions answered by an IWM expert from 2pm – 3pm, by leaving questions in the comments section, or on Facebook and Twitter. On Fridays, learning will be put to the test in Family Mission. Every Friday at 11am, a ‘mission briefing’ will be shared on IWM’s Facebook and Twitter channels, encouraging viewers to get involved through an activity related to that week’s theme.

In addition to Adventures in History and Family Mission, IWM is offering a variety of new and existing digital content to appeal to audiences of all ages:

Engage with curators and the collection on social media

IWM will be sharing enhanced content across its social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – with a series of new hashtag initiatives. In #CollectionSpotlight, IWM experts have been asked to pick and share a few words about unique, little-known and unusual objects from IWM’s collections. In #SpeedCurating, IWM curators have been challenged to explain why they love their favourite collection item in a 60-second video. On YouTube, audiences can go behind-the-scenes and learn more about IWM’s exhibitions, anniversaries and collections with hundreds of videos that tell stories of those who have lived, fought and died in conflict, from 1914 to the present day.

Browse stories and collections online 

Visitors to IWM’s website will also be able to browse our world-class collections online where more than 800,000 items including artworks, documents, objects, photography, film and oral histories are available alongside stories written by IWM’s subject-leading experts.

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