National Army Museum is open to question
Today, the National Army Museum has unveiled its dramatic transformation following the three-year £23.75 million re-development, including £11.5 million from The National Lottery.
Designed with architects BDP and exhibition design agency Event, the bright new Museum maximises access and engagement with the Collection, providing a 21st century visitor experience. Aiming to be a bridge between the British Army and the public, the National Army Museum will encourage greater public engagement with ideas of defence and security, openly asking questions to visitors and displaying responses on large screens inside the Museum and on the website.
In the new permanent thematic galleries - Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight - over 2,500 objects are on display, two thirds of which are on public display for the first time. The 500m² temporary exhibition space opens with War Paint: Brushes with Conflict, displaying over 130 paintings and objects. Completing the Museum is the Templer Study Centre, Learning Centre, brand new café, shop and Play Base, where children aged zero to eight can learn through play.
One of objects never seen before, despite being purchased by the NAM in 1994, is a Parliamentary battle flag from the English Civil War. The 25 square foot flag is one of only handful to have survived and was kept in the family of the man, Sir John Gell, whose regiment used it. Among the other ECW items on display are the cavalry armour and the military coat of Major Thomas Sanders, a parliamentarian sword, a pistol reputed to have belonged to Prince Rupert and a battlefield relic - an iron cannonball, retrieved from the fields at Naseby by a farmer and kept by his descendants until the mid-20th century. The June issue of The Armourer features an in-depth look at the Battle of Naseby, and is on sale 2 May.
Janice Murray, Director General of the National Army Museum said, “After three years of closure we are eager to reopen the doors to the National Army Museum. The bright new atrium and galleries allow our collections to be shown in a vast number of ways and have been able to give a wider perspective on the Army’s history. The stories in the Museum are universal, they come from individual men and women, and from an institution we are all accountable for. We invite visitors to come and question their British Army both past and present and find out more about its role in our lives.”
The Museum’s public programme launches with free themed tours, talks and topical debates about the British Army. This Easter children are invited to take part in a free robotics challenge (1-17 April). For more information visit www.nam.ac.uk and join the conversation with #newNAM. The National Army Museum is based in Chelsea, London. Nearest tube station is Sloane Square.