Once Upon a Wartime: Classic War Stories for Children

This major touring exhibition is at the Imperial War Museum London from February to November 2011, opening at Manchester’s Imperial War Museum North in February 2012.

The exhibition is structured around five key children’s books set in twentieth century wars: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo; Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden; The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall; The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailier and Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley.

Working with a design team including graphic designers from the Museum, lighting designers Studio ZNA and sound designers Luminous Frenzy, we designed a themed environment for each book, using large-scale printed graphics, full-scale built ‘sets’ and scale models of the stories’ settings (see a Blueprint article on the models we made here.) Each space contains a collection of museum artefacts relating to the period in which the story is set.

The aim of this theatrical series of spaces is to spark the imagination of visitors, particularly children, into exploring the featured books, the periods of history in which they are set, and the impact of war on children’s lives.

Photography: David Lambert