21 reviews of Imperial War Museum North in English
The imposing architectural masterpiece of Daniel Libeskind stands proud in the Salford area worth the visit for the building alone. I have seen two exhibitions in the visiting exhibition space Don McCullin and, War Correspondents both were fantastic with friendly helpful staff and an effective amount of written information balanced with visual and physical exhibits. Cheap parking for the day also makes it an ideal park and ride (tram) into Manchester itself.
The IWM North is impressive and interesting if you're into militaria and the history of war. If you're not, or if you've come expecting to see lots of tanks and guns and airplanes and the like, you'll surely be disappointed. The exhibit is relatively small and if you're not the kind of person who reads all the boards, explanations and notes, you'll be done within 30 minutes. All the large equipment they have on display is an American Sea Harrier hanging from the ceiling, the turret of a German WW1 A7V tank, a soviet WW2 T32 tank and an artillery gun or the other and that's pretty much it.
The "trench experience" or what they call it is really just like watching the beginning of 'Saving Private Ryan' blindfolded on super loud and is not really as spectacular as they say it is.
All in all I did nevertheless enjoy it but I can definitely see how people can find it super boring, especially after having seen the IWM London.
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Until the IWM North my impression of a war museum was based entirely on a childhood experience of visiting the Museum of the Armed Forces in Moscow, Russia. Due to the impact of the Second World War and the Nazi invasion on the USSR, the history of war was diligently collected, studied, and taught. There were tanks, planes, and various guns and bazookas, but it was a very different item that remained forever in my memory. It was the flayed skin of a concentration camp prisoner, complete with hairs and fingernails. It was the most outrageous item on display, and as kids we were fascinated, scared, and repulsed by it all at once.
Of course, compared to the above, IWM North is not that exciting. Being an island, Britannia experienced wartime hardships in the way, very different from either France or Russia. This is not to say that the British war efforts and losses in the two world wars were fundamentally different. However, the story of British partaking in wars is often more a story of the armed forces, rather that of civilians, and let's face it, we're forever more interested in people like ourselves.
IWM North hosted several important exhibitions over the last few years. They collaborated with the RIA-Novosti archive in London to bring to Manchester a selection of Soviet photographs; they commemorated the Air Forces in Against All Odds exhibition; they tackled the problem of prisoners of war; and they regularly have photo exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, and themed weekends.
The collection and all the exhibitions you may attend can overwhelm you, and to relax there is a cafe overlooking The Lowry and Salford Quays. They serve very decent food and drinks, including wine.
Although in a very imaginative building and surrounded by the Salford Quays whose regeneration is fabulous, this museum is just plain boring.
Most of the history on show is through read alone panels and very little comes through other media sources. This means that if you get bored easily by reading or you are distracted easily, then nothing you read goes in. You loose the plot and eventually nothing makes sense.
Not my cup of tea at all.
An architechturally interesting builiding in a formerly run-down area. The museum itself is fascinating and the staff are inciteful and friendly. Only a short walk from Old Trafford and The Lowry shopping centre, making in a great afternoon out.
The Imperial War Museum North is located by the water of Salford Quays, close to Manchester. It is easily accessible by bus or tram, or if you are coming from further away they do have plenty of space to park. Entrance is completely free, there is the option to buy the guide book or make a donation towards the running of the museum.
The theme is obviously 'War’ but more specifically the museums exhibits focus on the world wars, with smaller exhibits for other historic conflicts. There are plenty of objects of interest, weapons, clothing, tanks, planes etc. There are also some interactive exhibits to get you involved in the sights and smells of war.
Really good way to spend an afternoon, not enough to keep you busy for any longer than that.
This is an interesting place to spend a wet afternoon. We got there quite easily by tram from just by John Rylands library. The exterior of the building is an impressive art work in itself, and it looms on the skyline of the eerily empty Salford Keys.
Once inside the atmosphere is dark and gloomy, and black and white films of war stories are projected on the walls whilst the sound booms around the room. The exhibits are interesting and informative. I was surprised by the focus of the museum, it is more about the public’s experience of war and how it affects everyday life than combat as I thought it would be.
It is worth going up the tower for the view, and we had fun buying foam planes from the gift shop and flying them off the top!
At first I had apprehensions about visiting a ‘war’ museum, however it certainly did not disappoint! Located next to the Lowry Theatre and Outlet Mall, the Imperial War Museum is housed in a very impressive building (you literally cannot miss it!) The displays are mainly focused on the first and second world wars, with interactive areas, relics and film clips. Each hour the lights are dimmed in the main hall and a short feature film is shown highlighting a particular issue (e.g. children in war, weapons of war etc.) The visitor’s shop is very good, offering knick knacks reminiscent of earlier times and a nice selection of war related literature.
The IWM north is situated near the Lowry centre and reachable from the public tram to the Harbour city stop. Its a free day out but I would say its only interesting to those who like the history of war. Although its a great building architecturally, inside not much is done to try and capture attention of the 21st century child. Its definitely a trip for the adults, kids will nagging to leave unless they are interested in that kind of thing. There is a large projection show on the interior walls every so often, talking about various war topics which is about the only interesting thing about the IWM.
Well worth a visit in the school holidays with the kids. Another great FREE day out in Manchester.
Theoutside is very modern and impressive to look at . Staff are friendy and helpful.
The exhibitions themselves are interesting and informative. Younger children may get a little bored ,but I would recommend it for your Grandad to visit. Theres a good audo thing going on and the lights go low and you can imagine what it was like in the blitz or trenches.
A bit out of the way, in the white elephant that is Salford Quays. However, a great purpose built exhibition space, beautiful to look at from the outside, and also has an excellent viewing platform to look out across Salford/Manchester. And who knows, when the BBC arrive in Salford Quays, the area might actually get going after all these years.
This museum like many others in manchester is also free and also worth a visit.The architecture of the building is awesome to look at and is meant to be like a shattered globe and to stand for a world destroyed by war.It was opened in 2002 and the three areas stand for different things from 1900 onwards.these are land , sea and air.There is a great audiothing you must visit which is called the big picture.
Situated next to the Lowry the Imperial War Museum is well worth a look. Free entry and lots to see. We went to see the 'animals at war’ exhibition, there are always different things showing though.
The building itself can’t missed, the design is not to everyone’s taste though, don’t forget to go up in the lift to the viewing gallery to take in the views of the Ship Canal and Salford.
Nice location on the waterfront so visit in nice weather and go for a leisurely stroll along the famous Manchester Ship Canal and pop in the designer outlet for a spot of shopping.
Its a little strange looking on the outside and not that easy to find… far from most places but near the lowry. As it is free I would say it’s definatly one to do with the kids in the holidays. I went because I had to but wouldnt like to visit again as I don’t agree with war.
great looking buiding from the outside and even better cos it’s free. You wouldn’t tend to go back but close to lowry shopping and small walk from man utd’s ground..well worth a visit but it will probably be your last for a while..can be little scary for smaller kids when it goes pitch black
Daniel Libeskind’s first UK building and a simply wonderful one at that. Given that a shortfall in budget made him adapt his design rather than walk away like a spoiled brat is testament to this architects attitude and expertise.
This was apparently designed after Daniel Libeskind through a ceramic teapot out of the window - the shards were then rearranged to form the basis of a new design (the shards representing a world broken by conflict). It looks fantastic from most angles and my only concern is that it’s a little tucked away from, well, anywhere. Although for myself and friends, the walk across the ship canal bridge (from the Lowry) isn’t that far, for elder people it might just be a barrier to going to see what is a high quality museum. However, there’s talk of a tram stop nearer to the Lowry and IWMN and a brand new bridge over the ship canal from the media city to this museum.
It’s interior is as baffling as the exterior. It’s quite easy to lose your sense of perspective and balance as it happens - floors are set at angles as are the ceilings and soon enough you’ll almost be lost in a cathedral like alcove. Whilst there’s rather less substantial artefacts (i.e. tanks etc.) than in the London branch of IWM, there’s a whole host of personal correspondence relating to war, which actually bring the strife of conflict much closer to home. Every half hour or so the museum is completely taken over by a series of projections displayed on the huge walls dominating the interior. These are set against a soundtrack containing sound effects (quite loud - might make the younger kids jump out of their skin) and commentary about the effects of war across the world in the past and it’s continuing misery today.
A must see visit, but make sure you have the time to view the attraction more closely.
IWMN contains a gift shop (and a good one at that) and a café.
With the eerie excess of the aluminium that is the imperial war museum north is one of the city's treasures. The soaring 29 metre tower is accessed by a peculiar angled lift ride, but it's worth and for the view over the city and salford quays. Focusing on real people's experiences of war, this place doesn't preach but the strikingly audio/visual display certainly makes you question your conceptions of war especially in the world we live in when governments are so eager to use force on both innocent people and on other weaker governments. Highly recommended.
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