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War stories exhibition to open at Imperial War Museum

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Interactive family-friendly exhibition will bring to life some of the best-loved children’s books about conflict.

Interactive family-friendly exhibition will bring to life some of the best-loved children’s books about conflict.

The Imperial War Museum in London will open an exhibition tomorrow using life-size sets and intricate scale models to allow families to enter the imaginary worlds of stories such as War Horse by Michael Morpurgo and Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden.

Once Upon a Wartime: Classic War Stories for Children, which will run from 11 February to 30 October, aims to illuminate the experience of war through a child’s eyes and explore themes such as separation, excitement and survival.

Visitors will be able to learn more about the authors’ inspiration through items such as manuscripts, early sketches and photographs. The exhibition will also reveal more about the historical context through expert interpretation and artefacts including a piece of a German bomb.

To mark the exhibition, the museum has commissioned a new short story by Michael Morpurgo, to be published in spring, which will be inspired by an object in the museum. A children’s war literature festival will also be held during August.

Diane Lees, Director-General of the Imperial War Museum, said: “War has inspired authors of children’s stories for generations and we’re delighted to draw together some of the vest best examples in Once Upon a Wartime. The Imperial War Museum is the museum of everyone’s story so focusing on these extraordinary fictional accounts of conflict is an innovative, and we hope successful, way of helping children and adults understand the experience of war.”

The exhibition will open at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester in February 2012.

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