Yes, school kids love to jump in and out of its repurposed tanks or take the controls of the pretend fighter capsules, but is this a place that regrets war or glorifies it? The “Imperial” in its title ceased to feel comfortable many battles ago. If we trek out to Kennington and run the gun gauntlet, what are we learning? Those were my questions. They aren’t any more. The Blavatnik galleries have put the confusion to bed. Devoted to art, film and photography, the potent new spaces transmit their gravitas and sincerity to all the museum’s corners. Institutions, individuals, governments and nations may sometimes have misunderstood the tenor and meaning of war. But art, on this stirring evidence, never has. Art is war’s most truthful witness.
I’ve never been an Imperial War Museum fan — this changed my mind
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The Blavatnik Archive is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving and disseminating materials that contribute to the study of 20th-century Jewish and world history, with a special emphasis on World War I, World War II, and Soviet Russia.