National Army Museum 

Studio Visit

1 June 2017

It seems as the team is doing a cultural tour of Kensington and Chelsea of late! We worked on the fundraising material to secure the financial support for the National Army Museum to be completely revamped about 5 years ago, so we went along to see how the £24 million that was raised had been used to bring this institution back to life. And it really is a transformation.

Historic artefacts are now mixed in with interactive displays – including a virtual Drill Sergeant to shout at you on parade. Diaries and paintings of WW1 and WW2 are now brought to life in an immersive moving image installation where they are contrasted with modern accounts and video footage of battles in Iraq and Afganistan. Consequently this made for a powerful film about soldiers’ personal experiences. 

Each level of the museum now has curated themes that bring the army’s changing social relevance into focus. It’s not just the linear history of where’s and when’s from text books, but now the museum addresses different times and drivers of wars, alongside cultural and gender differences with the army.

The space has been divided into several almost self-contained exhibits, all of which you can see from the main atrium leading you around this great space, neon signs, layered posters, music and sound that is triggered to start as you walk past it and touch screens to investigate and huge animated timelines all gather together for a visit that keeps giving. Even for the most passive of visitors, a visual journey full of variety.