Culture Under Attack

How war threatens lives and the things that help define us.

By Imperial War Museums

The evacuation of paintings from London during the Second World War (1939/1945) by Ministry of InformationOriginal Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022477

War threatens people’s lives but also the cultural treasures that help define us. Culture Under Attack is a season of free exhibitions, live music, performances and talks at IWM London. It explores why some people attack culture - and some risk everything to protect and celebrate it.

The remains of 25-36 Southernhay West, Exeter, Devon (1942-05-04/1942-06-25) by Margaret Tomlinson, National Buildings RecordHistoric England

What Remains

What Remains explores why cultural heritage is attacked during war and the ways we save, protect and restore what is targeted.

The exhibition, in partnership with Historic England, covers a span of 100 years and tells the stories of both deliberate and accidental destruction of cherished places, objects and stories.

From the Nazi theft of art and the bombing of cathedrals in Coventry and Dresden to the destruction of objects from Mosul Museum in Iraq, the exhibition looks at both historical and contemporary responses to such damage.

The Home Front in Britain - Norwich (1939/1945) by Press agency photographerOriginal Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022191

Find out more about some of the topics featured in What Remains in three new Google Arts & Culture from IWM and Historic England.

Find out more about the Baedeker Raids on Britain during the Second World War.

Discover how technology has enabled the Lion of Mosul to live on after its destruction at the hands of ISIS.

Learn how Historic England’s National Building Record sought to ensure that the country’s architectural heritage would not be forgotten.

The Imperial War Museum During the Second World War (1941) by Ministry of WorksOriginal Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205219844

Art in Exile

In 1939, IWM staff were issued with a document titled ‘Procedure in the event of war’. This document laid out how artworks in the IWM collection would be evacuated from London and protected during the Second World War.

Art in Exile is an exhibition that explores which works were saved and which were not – and how the country homes of IWM trustees became temporary safe havens for these paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures.

It also looks at how other museums tried to preserve cultural treasures in the fact of war.

In 1939, The National Gallery, the V&A and the British Museum – who had priceless collections of British and European Old Masters – were able to move works to safe country estates, and later to underground quarries, thanks to government funds.

The Scottish Women's Hospital: In the Cloister of the Abbaye at Royaumont. Dr Frances Ivens inspecting a French patient. (1920) by Norah Neilson-GrayOriginal Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/20142

Get a close-up look at some of the works chosen for evacuation – and some of those that were left behind – in our Google Arts & Culture exhibition featuring works by William Orpen, John Singer Sargent and Paul Nash.

Radio B92 (1993) by Goran BasaricOriginal Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/events/rebel-sounds

Rebel Sounds

In Rebel Sounds , IWM takes a look at how artists have risked their lives for the music they loved – and how music has offered a way to resist war and oppression

Visitors will learn more about the young Germans who embraced jazz and swing music in defiance of Nazi ideology and discover the powerful story of Radio B92, the Serbian station that championed great music, free news and human rights during a decade of economic turmoil, war and censored press under Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s.

Terri Hooley (1970/1979) by Pacemaker Press InternationalOriginal Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/events/rebel-sounds

Terri Hooley, who used the emergence of Punk during The Troubles to put Northern Irish music back on the map in the 1970s, also shares his story

‘Somebody said if anywhere needed Punk it was Belfast,’ he recalls.

The exhibition also features Songhoy Blues, a group from Mali who have faced music bans and exile in the present day.

Rebel Sounds Live, a programme of performances and talks will accompany the exhibition, revealing the reality performing at risk of serious punishment, arrest or death.

Credits: Story

Culture Under Attack (5 July 2019 to 5 January 2020) is a free season of three exhibitions, live music, performances and talks at IWM London that explores how war threatens not just people’s lives, but also the things that help define us.

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Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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