Psychologist reviews Imperial War Museum exhibitions

A Chartered Psychologist reviews two exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum for the April issue of The Times Eureka magazine.


Dr Lucy Maddox, who works at the Adolescent Unit at the Royal Bethlem Hospital, Beckenham, visited the museum's The Children's War and Once upon a Wartime exhibitions.

The Children's War looks at youngsters' experience of the Home Front during World War II. It incorporates a two-storey 1940s house and a wall of video screens showing photographs of wartime children morphing into the adults they have become.

Dr Maddox found this exhibition impressive and wrote that her own work involves talking to children who have seen the dark side of human nature.

She said: "As we grow we forget how dark children's imaginations can be. To shy away from trying to explain and understand some of these fears does children a disservice. We know that talking about traumatic events, making sense of them in a coherent narrative, helps to combat adverse effects of trauma.'

The second exhibition, Once upon a Wartime, uses displays inspired by five children’s books to explore themes of loyalty, separation, excitement, survival and identity. The authors involved include Michael Morpurgo, Robert Westall and Nina Bawden.

The Children's War runs until 29 February 2012 and Once Upon a Wartime runs until 30 October 2011. The Imperial War Museum is at Lambeth Road, London SE1.