What an absolutely incredible day! I have been told countless times by others how amazing the Imperial War Museum is and how I should visit it etc etc so I could not resist. To start, let me review the temporary exhibit: Fashion on the Ration.
This is probably the best museum exhibition I have ever seen. It was wonderfully curated and filled to the brim with fantastic objects. To begin, the exhibit explained how fashion during the Second World War suffered, but did not end. Rather, both men and women were forced to become creative and to cope with what they had. Like food, clothing was heavily rationed. The slogan of the times was “make do and mend”. It was incredible to see how inventive people became and what lengths they were willing to go to in order to maintain morale.
There were plenty of textiles on display. I loved the handbag that had a compartment included to fit a gas mask. There was also this wonderful wedding dress made entirely from petticoat material. About halfway through the exhibit as well were samples of the main types of fabric available during the War. You were able to touch and feel the clothing which I thought was an excellent addition. Besides clothing, there was a section on make-up and accessories. Near the make-up exhibit was a great quote that, in a way, summarized the themes of the exhibit – “Good looks and good morale are the closest of allies” – Yardley cosmetics 1945.
I had to buy the exhibition catalogue by Julie Summers. So far, it has been a fabulous read and such a great accompaniment to the exhibition. I cannot speak highly enough of what we saw! If you are in London whilst the exhibit is showing, go go go!
The rest of the Imperial War Museum was very comprehensive. We had a quick walk through the Families During the War exhibit and then one on the First World War. The latter especially was amazing. There was just so much on display it could literally take you days to see it all. It got a bit exhausting after a while but I was glad we had some breaks to recuperate and carry on. Object highlight: a christmas message on a military biscuit.
Shout out to the gift shop as well. I love a good gift shop and this one was just wow. A few lovely additions to my museum catalogue collection and a crotched poppy for wear on Remembrance Day.
After the Imperial War Museum we walked back to Westminster and luckily stumbled upon the Florence Nightingale Museum. The objects were great although the layout was a tad bit confusing. There were three main circular display cabinets. Going from one to another was disorientating. Other than that there were some pretty neat information concerning the life and legacy of Florence Nightingale. She truly was a wonderful woman who achieved remarkable things. You can see a few of her early notebooks and her famous lantern. If you’re interested in nursing or have a spare moment around the South Bank/Waterloo area then yeah, go in for a look.
I am so excited to see what the following days will entail re: museum visits. I am expecting some amazing things! So far, the bar has been raised very high.