Imperial War Museums

Thanks to the support of Pears Foundation, Peace and Security will show the many ways in which modern conflicts have been fought, experienced, resolved or left unfinished, raising questions about how and why we fight, fear and live with war and its unending aftermath.
Diane Lees CBE, Director-General, Imperial War Museums
The stories told in Peace and Security and its reflections on British identity and citizenship directly mirror our own Foundation’s philosophy. We are certain that this gallery, supported by the ongoing education work of IWM London, will contribute to a deeper knowledge and understanding of who we are as Britons, how we got here and where we are going.
Sir Trevor Pears CMG

Imperial War Museums tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War. Its unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. IWM challenges people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

The Museums' flagship London site re-opened in 2014 following a major redevelopment to mark the centenary of the First World War. This transformation included the creation of a new gallery, Peace and Security: 1945-2014, sponsored by Pears Foundation, focusing on stories of contemporary conflicts.

In keeping with the Foundation’s philosophy of creating spaces for the exploration of challenging issues of identity and conflict, the Peace and Security exhibition charts the progress of global conflict from the end of the Second World War to the present day, exploring how war has divided the world community, from the long-running struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Balkans and the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. It forms part of the vital work preserving the British legacy of human conflict and the understanding of its ramifications. The stories are told through objects and artworks, sometimes interpretive and sometimes very real, including a piece of steel from the World Trade Centre.

In addition to the £1.75 million committed to the Peace and Security Gallery, Pears Foundation has also pledged £5 million to IWM London for the renewal of its Holocaust Education gallery. IWM’s world-renowned Holocaust Exhibition was built in 2000 and attracts around 1 million visitors a year, including 21,000 students who take part in learning sessions at the Museum. The planned renewal will see an increase in personal stories and direct survivor testimonies at the heart of the Exhibition, along with a breadth of objects and original material that will help audiences consider the cause, course and consequences of the Holocaust.