Renewal: Life after the First World War in Photographs

IWM London

21 September 2018 – 31 March 2019

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A new exhibition of black and white photography illustrates how lives, landscapes and national identities recovered and even flourished after the First World War.

A refugee family returning to Amiens, looking at the ruins of a house, 17 September 1918

Over 130 black and white photographs, documents and objects from the museum’s extensive collection chart the initial optimism after the war as well as the realities of displacement, demobilisation, social change and the fall of empires.

While the devastating effects of war were felt on both sides, developments in materials and new technologies also led to innovations. Military equipment was repurposed for civilian use and advances in medicine and plastic surgery enabled the reconstruction of the human body.

From images of refugees returning to ruined homes, through the reconstruction of Ypres, to battlefields depicting the villages that ‘died for France’ and were never rebuilt, these rarely seen photographs from this little-explored time period reveal the extent of the destruction and change in war-torn Europe and beyond.

Also on display from 5 October to 18 November 2018 is the touring iconic sculpture Poppies: Weeping Window, a cascade comprising several thousand handmade ceramic poppies, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. IWM North is presenting the sister sculpture Wave (8 September to 25 November), and at the end of the tour, both sculptures will become part of the Imperial War Museums' collection.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 6pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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