What’s on at the NAM in March
First of all there’s a major new exhibition entitled, Special Forces: In the Shadows. Discover the elite training and extreme skills needed to make the cut as this exhibition explores the operations they’ve undertaken around the world over the past 70 years.
Founded during World War II, the Special Forces is made up of six elite units, each with a unique role in British security and military operations. Uncover their hidden world from real-life events such as the Iranian embassy siege to how they are portrayed in popular culture. The exhibition runs from 17 March through to 18 November and costs £8 for adults, £4 for children.
To mark the release of a new, centennial edition of The Eyes of Asia, Charles Allen will explore Kipling’s fascinating collection of letters telling the story of four Indian soldiers - a veteran Rajput, a convalescing Sikh, a Muslim Pathan sharpshooter and a Punjabi Muslim cavalryman - as they confronted the horrors of World War I. Through unofficial access to translations of scores of intercepted Indian Army letters, Kipling gained an intimate understanding of the plight of men long neglected in Western literature. To Kipling, they were unsung heroes whose sacrifices had made a decisive impact on the British war effort. The talk in at 6pm on 7 March and while free, booking is recommended. Refreshments will be provided.
Meanwhile, on 9 March there’s a talk on The Battle of New Orleans. Historian Joseph Stoltz revisits the history of the battle in 1815. Once widely celebrated by Americans, the anniversary of the United States’ defeat of a British army outside of New Orleans on 8 January 1815 is now largely forgotten on both sides of the Atlantic. By analysing 200 years of music, literature, theatre, and film, Joseph Stoltz explores how generations of Americans revised the memory of the conflict to fit their political, cultural, and social needs. Again, this is free but booking is recommended.
Also on 9 March, at 2pm, is a conference on exploring current research on women and the military around the world. The mini research symposium marks this year’s International Women’s Day and continues the museum’s work from last year exploring the centenary of the founding of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Historians from around the UK will present their current research on women and the military.
On 16 March Brigadier (retired) Ben Barry discusses UK operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, 15 years since they began. Operation Telic is the name for the British deployment in Iraq, which began in 2003. Ben Barry will analyse British military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. He will explain why success often proved elusive as a result of failings in strategy, tactics and military adaptation. Finally, he will discuss the lasting impact of these difficult wars on the UK armed forces. It’s a free talk but booking is recommended.
Other events to look out for include Special Forces: The Originals, a talk on 23 March; the Book Club on 28 March, meeting from 7pm-8pm; jungle survival skills, family-friendly workshop, which runs from 30 March-15 April; a talk on the British Army and its Intelligence Corps, 1904-1940, which runs from 30 March-15 April, at 11.30am each day.
More details on all events at www.nam.ac.uk.
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