A woman visiting the What Remains exhibition looks into a display cabinet including a sculpture of a man's head that has had the nose knocked off. A poster to her left shows a church in flames and includes the text: "IRISHMEN DO YOUR DUTY! Enlist and keep the enemy out"

What Remains, IWM London

A free exhibition exploring why cultural heritage is attacked during war and how we save, protect and restore what is targeted.

5 July 2019 - 5 January 2020
IWM London, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ
Free entry

From the Nazi theft of art and the bombing of cathedrals in Coventry and Dresden to the destruction of objects from Mosul Museum in Iraq, war devastates lives, kills people and destroys the cultural heritage that they hoped would outlive them. Sometimes destruction is accidental, but often our cherished places, objects and stories are deliberately targeted in conflict.

What Remains, our new exhibition in partnership with the Imperial War Museum London, explores why cultural heritage is attacked during war and the ways we save, protect and restore what is targeted. Over 50 photographs, oral histories, objects and artworks will be on display, from both IWM and Historic England's collections.

Why this exhibition?

Destroying cultural heritage often strikes at the heart of our communities. What Remains highlights historic and contemporary moments where places, art and artefacts have been attacked by those who wish to exploit or even erase whole civilisations from history.

Spanning 100 years, discover stories such as Hitler's Baedeker Raids in 1942 where German bombers targeted historic towns and cities noted in travel guides of Britain, and the Taliban destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas in 2001.

Learn more about the Baedeker Raids

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

How to record loss and destruction?

Just as cultural heritage is attacked, it is also bravely protected, restored or rebuilt into new forms that let us commemorate and reflect on loss. Learn about individuals and groups who risk their lives to protect culture, such as when ISIS severely damaged the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra, Syria in 2015.

Visit our gallery of images from the Historic England Archive to learn the story of how a small body of men and women battled against the threat to England's cultural heritage during a time of war.

Visit our online gallery

Archive black and white photograph showing people in the road with ruins showing behind a standing street facade.
The facade of 25-36 Southernhay West, Exeter, Devon. Photographed by Margaret Tomlinson after an air raid in 1942. © Historic England BB42/00714

Visit the exhibition - Practical information

What Remains is open until 5 January 2020 at:
IWM London, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ
Open everyday 10am - 6pm. Free Entry

Getting there:

London Underground / Tube: Lambeth North or Elephant & Castle​
Bus: 344, 360

Sign up to our newsletter for updates

An exhibition in partnership with

IWM logo

What Remains is part of our Loss and Destruction Season

Loss and Destruction Season logo

Was this page helpful?