What's on at the National Army Museum.

What's on at the National Army Museum

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The National Army Museum kicks off a new series of public events to showcase the work of specific regiments, topical themes or inspiring key campaigns in the nation’s history, with ‘Spotlight Saturdays’. Taking place on a Saturday, every other month, the spotlight sessions aim to inspire, engage and educate visitors with a free day of activities at the museum in Chelsea. The sessions will bring together serving soldiers, leading military experts and veterans, as well as, the museum’s extensive collection of archives and objects spanning more than four centuries.

On Saturday 2 March, in recognition of Women’s History Month 2019, the museum spotlights how women have helped shape the British Army. Women and the Army will transport visitors from the 17th century through to the present day with theatrical performances, live music and intriguing discussion.

Step back in time - In 1693, Mother Ross disguised herself as a man to join the British Army, in order to find her husband who had disappeared at war. Her incredible story is told in a theatrical performance by Dr Kate Vigurs of History’s Maid.

Real Women - Ali Brown, chair of the WRAC Association brings together five remarkable women who are either serving soldiers, veterans or Army wives, to share their personal experiences of the British Army. Meet: • Betty Webb - served at Bletchley Park with the ATS. She’s now a published author. • Moira Cameron – served a full Army career in the 70s and 80s, and was the first female Yeoman of the Guard at the Tower of London.

• Ali Brown – served in the Army from the early eighties until 2011. She served during conflicts in the Gulf and the Balkans and now works tirelessly to ‘support women who served’ through the WRAC Association. • Colonel Lucy Giles – currently serving in the British Army, Lucy was the first female college commander at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was awarded the Women in Defence award in 2017. • Military wife – TBC – a military wife will join the panel to share what life is like for the spouse of a serving soldier; from the highs of travel to the lows of leading a family solo.

Additional activities throughout the day include performances by the Military Wives Choirs, as well as, gallery tours and object handling centred around women in the Army. Visitors are invited to go back in time when they meet an ATS re-enactor. They will have the opportunity to quiz a woman from the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the Army, to discover her story and learn more about what life was like for women at the time of the Second World War


Curator Tour: Alfred Munnings

Friday 1 March


£10.50, £9.50 concessions

Join a curator on an hour-long tour of our exhibition, 'Alfred Munnings: War Artist, 1918'.

Discover more on the work of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and the Forestry Corps from Munnings' perspective through these paintings loaned from the Canadian War Museum as well as selected works from the National Army Museum's own collection.

The exhibition has been developed by the Canadian War Museum (Ottawa, Canada), in partnership with The Munnings Art Museum (Dedham, UK) and generously supported by The Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/curator-tour-alfred-munnings-4


Double Crossed

Wednesday 6 March

6pm – 8pm

£7.00 adults, £5.00 concessions, Booking required (includes a drink on arrival)

Brian Wood MC discusses his military career with former soldier Johnny Mercer MP.

At the age of 23, Brian Wood was thrust into the front line of the Iraq War at the infamous Battle of Danny Boy. When his unit was ambushed by insurgents, he led a charge across open ground under heavy fire. His men emerged with no serious casualties and saved the lives of many other soldiers in the process. This act of outstanding bravery earned Brian the Military Cross.

But those same events led to a decade of trauma. Brian suffered from PTSD and struggled to fit back into civilian life. He was then summoned to give evidence at an inquiry into allegations of war crimes by British soldiers during the Iraq campaign.

After years of public shame, these accusations were shown to be false and justice was finally served. Brian introduces his memoirs in: Double Crossed – a code of honour, a complete betrayal, published by Penguin Random House UK.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/double-crossed


The adventures of Mother Ross

Saturday 9 March

11am, 1pm, 3pm

Free, drop-in

Watch with the live performance of the incredible tale of Mother Ross. Mother Ross, alias Kit Cavanagh, disguised herself as a man to join the British Army in a brave attempt to try to find her husband who had gone missing at war.

She was a respected and well-loved soldier, serving in both the Nine Years War and the War of the Spanish Succession, until her secret was discovered.

This performance is part of Women's History Month and delivered by History’s Maid, Kate Vigurs.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/adventures-mother-ross


At Ease early opening

Saturday 16 March [Disabled Access Day]

8.30am – 10am

Free, Booking recommended

The National Army Museum will open at 8.30am until 10am exclusively for visitors with disabilities and additional sensory needs. Select interactives will be turned off, noises and lights turned down, and a quiet room will be available for downtime. The museum will present a more relaxed environment for learning about the British Army and the people who have served in it.

All visitors to this special early opening will be sent a visual story in advance to provide an idea of what to expect on arrival. 

The museum proudly houses a Changing Places toilet and sensory backpacks will be available to further enhance the experience with tactile aids.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/ease-early-opening


BSL-led family storytelling

Saturday 16 March [Disabled Access Day]


Free, Booking recommended

Discover more about Army animals in this British Sign Language-led, bilingual and interactive storytelling session, designed specifically for deaf and hearing families to enjoy together.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/bsl-led-family-storytelling


British Sign Language tour: Gallery highlights

Saturday 23 March


Free, Booking recommended

Explore the history of the British Army with Edward Richards on a BSL guided tour of the museum’s five main galleries.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/british-sign-language-tour-gallery-highlights


Churchill: Walking with Destiny

Thursday 28 March

6pm – 8pm

£15.00 adults, £12.50 concessions, Booking recommended

Join Andrew Roberts for an evening talk on his new book which examines how much Winston Churchill’s belief in his own personal destiny affected his wartime premiership.

Winston Churchill towers above every other figure in 20th-century British history. By the time of his death at the age of 90 in 1965, many thought of him as the greatest man in the world.

There have been over a thousand previous biographies of Churchill. Andrew Roberts now draws on over 40 new sources, including the private diaries of King George VI, to depict him more intimately and persuasively than ever before.

There will be a book signing with the author after the event.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/churchill-walking-destiny



Every Friday of the month, the National Army Museum hosts Friday Insights: a programme of one-hour talks designed to share expert acumen on subjects related to the British Army, its history, past and present.

Website: www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on


The Drumhorse in the picture

Friday 1 March


Free, Booking recommended

Join regimental historian, Christopher Joll, as examines the British cavalry's use of drum horses and tells the story of Paddy II, the subject of a famous painting by Sir Alfred Munnings.

There will be a book signing with the author after the event.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/drum-horse-picture


The Women of the SOE and Ravensbrück camp

Friday 8 March


Free, Booking recommended

On International Women’s Day, join Dr Kate Vigurs to learn about seven significant women who risked their lives for an important cause.

Towards the end of the Second World War, seven women of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) were captured behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied France. Arrested, interrogated and eventually imprisoned in Ravensbrück concentration camp, it was the Nazis’ intention that they would disappear without trace.

Unprotected by the Geneva Convention and beyond Allied help, the lives of seven women hung in the balance. This is the story of their recruitment, training, missions and eventual fate.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/women-soe-and-ravensbruck-camp


The Wasbies in the Second World War

Friday 15 March


Free, Booking recommended

Elizabeth Lockart-Mure tells the little-known story of the Women's Auxiliary Service (Burma), which ran mobile canteens for the Allied troops involved in the Burma campaign.

During the Second World War, the 14th Army was supported by an intrepid group of women known colloquially as the Wasbies - the Women's Auxiliary Service (Burma) or WAS(B). Elizabeth Lockart-Mure's account of these brave women is taken from the surviving diary of Maria Pilbrow, documenting her experiences in India and Burma with the 14th Army.

There will be a book signing with the author after the event.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/wasbies-second-world-war


Campaigning for war widows in the 21st century

Friday 22 March


Free, Booking recommended

Mary Moreland, Chairman of the War Widows Association, discusses the charity’s history and its role in campaigning for equality for all war widows in Great Britain.

Since its formation in 1971, the War Widows Association has achieved many milestone improvements in the life conditions of war widows and their dependants, including in pensions and benefits.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/campaigning-war-widows-21st-century


'Then, the Red Soldier': The Zulu War, 140 years on

Friday 29 March


Free, Booking recommended

Join author Ian Knight to find out more about the origins and impact of the Zulu War, and how it is perceived today.




Alfred Munnings: War Artist, 1918

CLOSES 3 March 2019

10am – 5.30pm daily, last admission 5pm

Booking recommended

£6 adults, serving Army soldiers free, £5 veterans & concessions, £4 groups, £4 students, under 16s free

Sir Alfred Munnings was one of Britain’s most celebrated equine artists. This exhibition features over 40 original paintings from his time with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. Shown together for the first time in a century, his impressionist paintings from 1918 highlight the role of horses in military operations, while capturing the beauty of these animals in the war-affected landscapes of France.

Discover more on the work of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and the Forestry Corps through these paintings on loan from the Canadian War Museum as well as selected works from the National Army Museum’s own collection. The exhibition has been developed by the Canadian War Museum (Ottawa, Canada), in partnership with The Munnings Art Museum (Dedham, UK) and generously sponsored by The Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation. Local support is kindly provided by Juddmonte.

Website: www.nam.ac.uk/munnings



Call in the Cavalry

25 October 2018 – 9 June 2019

10am – 5.30pm daily, last admission 5pm

Free, drop-in

From flamboyant uniforms to fast horses, this exhibition looks at the shared heritage between the Hungarian and British hussars. During the 19th century, 12 British Army regiments were retitled or created as hussars, adopting traditions established by the Hungarian hussars of the 17th century. Over the years, the original British hussar regiments have amalgamated to form the three present-day units: The King's Royal Hussars, the Queen's Royal Hussars and the Light Dragoons.

Come and discover their histories and the distinctive, dazzling uniforms which earned some regiments nicknames like The Shiny Tenth and The Old Saucy Seventh. Learn about the traditions they have developed, and the many famous cavalry charges they have taken part in. The exhibition includes contributions from the Hungarian Institute and Museum of Military History.

Website: https://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/call-cavalry 

About the National Army Museum The National Army Museum is the leading authority on the history of our Army. Founded in 1960 by Royal Charter and established for the purpose of collecting, preserving and exhibiting objects and records relating to the Land Forces of the British Crown, it is a museum that inspires, engages and educates. The Museum seeks to tell the story of the Army and of the soldiers who have served in it. It aims to inspire, educate and engage the public with its world-class collection. www.nam.ac.uk

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