IWM North #FitForAction

On Saturday we were invited to Imperial War Museum North to have a preview of the summer activities they are holding. IWM North is in Manchester at Salford Quays across the water from the new BBC building

Salford Quays

It is housed in a very impressive building, designed by Daniel Libeskind. A bit of a sucker for architecture, this building is amazing.

IWM North

Imperial War Museum North

IWM North has free entry, and they hold a varied programme of free family activities, see here for the programme. They have a lot of events coming up over the summer months.

The first stop we had was to look around the main exhibition space. The new exhibition they have for summer is Fit for Action, and it looks into how sports play a part in war.

I had never really thought that a vital part of keeping troops active, and moral high during times of conflict is sports. It was a real eye opener.

In the exhibit we saw various items, one was a frisbee that was almost lost over the compound wall in Afghanistan, it was used to keep troops fit.

Frisbee to keep troops fit in Afghanistan

We saw a leather football from the Holzminden Prisoner of War camp from the first world war, amazed that it had survived that long and we could now see it, I thought it was spectacular.

football used in World War One

We also learnt about a guy called Douglas Clark who was from Huddersfield and was a world renowned rugby league forward, he went to war and was injured so could no longer play rugby. When he returned he decided to take up wrestling and became a world class wrestler.

Douglas Clark exhibit

We went to a storytelling session in the activity area. The activity area was really well equipped for children of all ages and looked like it was a place where you could keep visiting and do something different every time.

The story was about a boy called Billy who was evacuated from Salford in the war. This actually really captured the kids attention, and S talked quite a lot about this on the way home.

And, then they made their own Fit for Action t-shirts

We also visited the Big Picture show in the main exhibition space, and it is very clever. We saw the Horrible Histories show about rationing. I have never seen a 360 degree show before and we were all really impressed. Every surface of the main exhibition space is projected onto with the film.

It was difficult to get a good photo in this space because of the constant moving images.

Big Picture show

Also at the Imperial War Museum is the Air shard... 100 feet high viewing platform. For those who know me I am petrified of heights. Really, but the kids wanted to go up... good god, cold sweat starts in the lift. When the lift doors open @oldfashionedsus says "Don't look down on this bit" so I took her advice. The floor from the lift to the main section is mesh and you can see down to the ground..

The actual platform is OK and felt quite safe. A friendly IWM member of staff to chat to and take my mind off the height.

Air shard

I did realise the kids have literally NO fear, and were very happy to run around looking at the view through the binoculars I had bought them in the gift shop.

S and C looking over Salford

C in the air shard

Air shard

So, a great day out, and free entry.

The Imperial War museum managed to capture the imagination of children, through great storytelling in the main exhibits and through the family friendly sessions they hold.

It is a place we will definitely be returning to, roll on the summer holidays!

Note: Although entry is free to the Imperial War museum, we received free vouchers for both the childrens lunch and also free tickets for the air shard. All views are my own.