During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Imperial War Museum came up with a unique way to bring the history in their museums to people wherever they were around the world.
The brand new digital programme has introduced real life experiences of history, such as first hand accounts of sleeping in a bomb shelter, to a wider audience.
Talking about why they created the digital initiatives Susie Thornberry, Assistant Director of Public Engagement said,
“We want to bring the IWM’s stories, collections and educational resources to homes everywhere.”
The IWM website is home to the collections of more than 800,000 items; including photographs, films and objects across military history periods which, now, anyone can access and learn more about.
'Family Mission' was created to make history and learning interactive. The challenges take inspiration from real family experiences, like the Hill family who were separated in World War Two. The only way they were able to communicate was through 25 word messages delivered by the Red Cross.
Social media has been used to create opportunities for the public to engage with historical experts, using hashtags to start conversations, such as:
- #CollectionSpotlight - experts sharing unique or little known pieces from the collections
- #SpeedCurating - experts talking about their favourite item in a 60 second video
Virtual museum tours have been created, including a tour of Duxford's American Air museum. From the comfort of their homes viewers can learn about the largest collection of American military aircraft outside of the US.
Award-winning food writer and celebrity chef Dan Lepard has also teamed up with IWM to recreate war time recipes with a modern twist that people can cook along with at home.
Recipes like a 1940s curry, carrot sponge and baked jam that are all made using the ingredients people would have had during the Second World War.
Although IWM London, IWM North and IWM Duxford have all re-opened since the lockdown period, activities are still available digitally, to continue giving "a unique way to engage with history."