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Which museum for WWII buff?

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Upstate New York
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272 posts
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Which museum for WWII buff?

My 15 y.o son is a WWII buff. If you could choose one, would you recommend the Imperial War Museum, Churchill Museum and War Cabinet Rooms or Churchill’s Britain at War Experience?

Thanks!

Ambler, Pennsylvania
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1. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

Hi: I've not visited the others so I can't say which is best, but Imperial War Museum was better than I had expected. The World War II exhibits are especially impressive with displays from many perspectives, including the home front in Britain. I highly recommend it. Bonus = it's free.

Canada
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2. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

I have only been to the Imperial War Museum and would highly recommend visiting that museum. I have now been three times and have not seen all of it (I was interested in the excellent Holocaust Permanent Exhibit and the War Art exhibit, as well as the genocide display). There is quite a bit of equipment (tanks, planes, and the like) as well as some interesting looking installations (eg the WWI trench warfare installation). A 15 year old would be quite happy there, I think.

Detroit, Michigan
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3. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

I've been to all three and the Imperial War Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms are both excellent. Tough call. Any way you could squeeze both in? Even non-WWII buff will enjoy them.

Th Britain at War Experience is, um, different. A little more low-budget and focuses more on WWII memorabilia and the war on the homefront. I thought it was interesting, but not the same caliber as the other two.

London Walks (www.walks.com) also has a "Blitz" walk on Thursday afternoons. We're taking it on our next visit.

Fredericksburg, VA
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4. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

I am NOT the WWII buff - that's my husband. But we have been to all 3. My husband would rank them 1. Imperial War Museum, 2. Britain at War Experience and 3. Churchill Museum & Cabinet Rooms. Personally, I liked the Britain at War Experience best, but I am definitely not the interested one.

Yes, the BAW Experience is different, but I think that's what my son and I liked best about it (my son was 10 when we went last year). He really didn't enjoy the Churchill Museum, and even my husband said there was a lot there that he already knew/had seen. Both hubby and son enjoyed the Imperial War Museum more than I did, but looking at guns, planes, etc. isn't my thing! ;-)

Cybored

Upstate New York
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272 posts
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5. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

Wow - thanks for your quick replies! Very interesting. This will be a tough call! We went to Normandy last year and did the Band of Brothers tour which we all really enjoyed but I'm trying to strike a WWII - everything else balance for this trip.

Thanks again!

Melbourne
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6. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

IMW museum is tops for me but closely followed by the Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum. Britain at War Experience tails off in third place. If you can do both of the first two do so but be warned they both need some hours for a WWII buff.

Illinois
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7. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

My 10 y/o loved the Cabinet War Rooms. Not the Churchill Museum so much. (They're ticketed together, but there's a separate area for Churchill) She was interested to a point but not enough to spend a lot of time there. I don't know how much you would really learn from the Cabinet War Rooms if you already knew about WWII (my daughter knew very little when we went) but it was interesting to see the actual location preserved from the 1940s.

We did not go to the Imperial War Museum, but she's now begging me to take her back to London so she can see it. We went to the Musee de l'Armee in Paris, and it sounds similar but more interactive and in English.

Britain at War gets mixed reviews on here. I think we would see it if we went back because of her interest, but I got the impression it was recreated, not actual historical things.

Detroit, Michigan
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8. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

Is it just you and your son traveling? Or are there more in your party? If there are more than just the two of you, maybe you could split up for a day and see something of interest to all of you (i.e. let the guys do the war stuff while mom goes shopping, or to a museum, etc...)

Nashua, New...
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9. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

I've been to the Imperial War Museum and the Churchill Museum, and thoroughly enjoyed them both. Of the two, I thought the Imperial War Museum was more interesting, and would recommend it over the Churchill Museum for a teenager. The Holocaust exhibit at the IMW was quite moving.

Comet, Qld
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10. Re: Which museum for WWII buff?

I've been to the IWM and Britain at War Experience. We're planning to spend the best part of a day back at the first and wouldn't go back to the second. It was worth a visit but if I had to choose the IWM would easily win. Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms is also on the list if we have time but can't comment as I haven't been there.