Okay, this is just a quick post, and probably only relevant to anyone who is going to be in London within the next nine months, but we just went to the new Terrible Trenches exhibit at the IWM. It is 100% kid friendly, but informative enough to keep adults entertained too. Daughter spent about forty minutes in there running around trying everything (ever smelled mustard gas?), and she says her favorite part was the bit about the latrines. Some of the video clips were a bit distressing for her, but we just moved on when she thought it was too much.
My only complaint is that they end the exhibit with a store, so that children are certain to ask for something before you can get out. Obviously memorabilia sales are a source of income for the museum, and I regularly buy things there, but I don’t like being trapped like that. You do have to pay to get into the exhibit, unless you are a Museum Friend, but the prices didn’t seem too over the top for me, given that it is a special exhibit.
Anyway, for anyone how might be interested, I contextualized it first by taking Daugther through the WWI section down in the basement, and we talked specifically about trench warfare while we were exploring their models down there. Then I asked her if she wanted to go through the big trench exhibit, so we did, even if I had to carry her. Then we went up to the Terrible Trenches, which she now calls the “kids’ trench”. After that, she asked to go back through the big trench, which she did by herself without being scared, and she was able to talk about the different aspects of the big trench exhibit. She now knows some of the differences between WWI and WWII, and she keeps asking to go back to the kids’ trench. Judging by her reaction and all of the other kids’ laughter, I think the exhibit is a success.