Imperial War Museum works with troops to record and share their frontline experiences

Servicemen and women are being encouraged to share their frontline experiences as part of War Story, a new initiative launched by the Imperial War Museum. War Story will allow active service personnel to record their personal stories as part of the Museum’s national collection relating to contemporary conflicts. Using innovative collecting techniques, across a range of digital media, War Story will see the Imperial War Museum supporting today’s servicemen and women to record and share their personal experiences for posterity, enriching public understanding of human behaviour in modern conflicts and military campaigns.

War Story will begin in autumn 2009 initially working with servicemen and women about to embark on tours of duty in Afghanistan. Using examples from the Imperial War Museum’s existing collections, personnel will be shown the importance of their own role in preserving the history of their own unit, and be encouraged to use film, art, photography, and the written word to record their own story.

Working in co-operation with the Ministry of Defence, Imperial War Museum staff will support participants to expand on existing new media channels already used to record the military experience. By assessing digital content, Museum staff will ask participants to share more details to place their stories in a broader context improving the quality of information available for posterity. Servicemen and women will also be able to contribute physical materials relating to their individual story.

Material gathered from later face to face workshops and new media channels will be included in the Museum’s collections and be available to public researchers. Through careful selection, some material will also be included in the Museum’s displays, increasing the wider public understanding of more recent conflicts, from the perspective of those who were actually there. An anthology of material generated by War Story will be published when the project is completed in 2012.

War Story is supported by Boeing Defence UK Ltd, a subsidiary of The Boeing Company.

Diane Lees, Director General of the Imperial War Museum said:

“War is one of the most destructive forces in history but one that can be immensely creative. Through War Story, servicemen and women will be given the opportunity to describe experiences that for many of us remain indescribable. War Story will play an important role in raising public awareness of the personal experiences of servicemen and women involved in contemporary conflicts and the significance of their role in making and preserving history. We are grateful for the support of Boeing Defence UK Ltd who have enabled us to make War Story possible.”

Nick Gurr, Director of Media and Communications for the Ministry of Defence said:

“We are delighted to support the Imperial War Museum’s War Story project. We hope that War Story will help the public gain a greater insight and understanding into what our servicemen and women are doing In Afghanistan by providing an opportunity to hear at first hand what life on the front line involves.”

Mike Kurth, Managing Director of Boeing Defence UK Ltd said:

“War Story is a unique opportunity to develop public understanding of the Afghanistan wartime service experience of dedicated and committed UK uniformed service personnel and their families. It’s an honour to support this effort which will provide a window into their heroism, sacrifice and challenges in times of war.”

For further information contact: Victoria Smith, Senior Press Officer, Imperial War Museum London, 020 7416 5497, [email protected]