Museum commemorates anniversary

PUBLISHED: 20:00 06 May 2020

VE Day was marked at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford despite the lockdown. Picture: IWM

VE Day was marked at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford despite the lockdown. Picture: IWM

© IWM (HU 44878)

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford will commemorate 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe by sharing the personal stories of people who stood together during a time of national crisis, and their reflections once the fighting had stopped.

The IWM is asking households to take a moment on May 8 – the 75th anniversary of VE Day – to play the four-minute soundscape Voices of War on its website.

It brings together first-hand accounts of VE Day from IWM’s vast sound archive, ranging from an army nurse who served in Egypt at the time and a Jamaican aircraftsman who emigrated to the UK aboard the Empire Windrush in 1948, to a Jewish man from Berlin who spent six weeks in Sachsenhausen concentration camp and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

As part of its plans to mark 75 years since the end of the Second World War this summer, IWM will also share voices from its sound archive on the anniversaries of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, and of VJ Day on August 15.

As part of Voices of War, commissioned contemporary artists’ responses to the end of the Second World War and its resonance today will also be released on the IWM website and social media channels from May 8. These responses, ranging from spoken word to music and poetry, will question our understanding of victory and reinterpret these pivotal moments in our history for contemporary audiences.

Diane Lees, director general of the IWM, said: “Originally we had planned to mark the 75th anniversary in public spaces around the UK. Due to the current situation [of coronavirus lockdown], this is no longer possible. However, the need to commemorate this anniversary and to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf by past generations is as pressing as ever.

“We want the public to reflect on this important historical milestone as many others did 75 years ago – in the privacy of their own kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and gardens – and be part of this important national moment with IWM and with the rest of the country.”

Educational activities will also be available on the IWM’s website from May 4, along with additional photos and personal stories from its vast collection, and articles from IWM curators. Visit iwm.org.uk


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