Soviet T-34

Soviet T-34

Iraqi T-55

Iraqi T-55

 

The building itself is not just a museum but something of a work of art in it's own right. An architectural competition for the new museum was held in 1997, with the winning design being that of Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind. Born in Łódź, Poland, in 1946, Libeskind's family had suffered during the Second World War and dozens of his relatives had died in the Holocaust. At the museum's opening, Libeskind said that he sought to "create a building ... which emotionally moved the soul of the visitor toward a sometimes unexpected realization"'. Libeskind envisaged a 'constellation composed of three interlocking shards' with each shard being a remnant of an imagined globe shattered by conflict. These shards in turn represented air, earth and water, and each formed a functionally distinct part of the museum. The 55m high air shard, provides the museum's entranceway and a viewing balcony above the Manchester Ship Canal with views of the Manchester skyline. The construction of the tower leaves viewers exposed to the elements and one reviewer considered that it reflected "the aerial perspective of modern warfare and the precariousness of the life below". The earth shard houses the museum's exhibition spaces, while the water shard accommodates a cafe with views of the canal.

 

This is the northern sister of the Imperial War Museum (therefore often referred to as IWMN) and deals with conflicts in the past century. Permanent exhibitions are housed in the museum's first-floor main gallery space within the earth shard. These consist of a chronological display which runs around the gallery's 200-metre (660 ft) perimeter and six thematic displays in "silos" within the space. As part of the earth shard, the 3,500-square-metre (38,000 sq ft) floor of the gallery is curved, gradually dropping away like the curvature of the Earth from a nominal "North Pole" near the gallery's entrance. Within this hall, described as cavernous and dramatic, a number of large artefacts are displayed; they include a Russian T-34 tank, a United States Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jet and a 13-pounder field gun which fired the British Army's first shot of the First World War. Around the gallery, a number of vertical mechanical conveyors called "timestacks" display selections of smaller artefacts, some of which can be handled by visitors. In addition to the physical exhibits, the walls of the gallery space are used as screens for the projection of hourly audiovisual presentations called the Big Picture, which explore themes related to modern conflict. These presentations use up to 1,500 images from the Imperial War Museum's photograph archive and were originally projected from 60 synchronised slide projectors mounted throughout the space. In 2011 digital projectors were installed, allowing a greater degree of flexibility. The images are complemented by personal accounts from the museum's oral history sound archive. Current Exhibition (until April 10th) Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits with 'Fashion on the Ration' coming soon. Six manual wheelchairs available for use free of charge* (IWM North is fully accessible by wheelchair). Accessible toilets on the ground floor. Lifts to all floors. They aim to offer audio described tours and object handling sessions where possible. Please check whether this facility will be available by calling 0161 836 4063 or emailing learningnorth@iwm.org.uk at least one week before your planned visit date. Signed tours are regularly available. A warm welcome to guide and hearing dog. Induction loop systems at the Information Desk, WaterShard Café, Shop counter and Learning Studio

 

Location : IWM North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1TZ.

Transport: MediaCityUK (Metrolink). Harbour City(Metrolink). Bus routes 250, X50 and 50 stop nearby.

Opening Times: Daily 10:00 to 17:00

Tickets: Free

Tel: 0161 836 4000