Fronted by a pair of intimidating 15-inch naval guns, this riveting museum is housed in what was the Bethlehem Royal Hospital, also known as Bedlam. Although the museum’s focus is on military action involving British or Commonwealth troops largely during the 20th century, it rolls out the carpet to war in the wider sense. The highlight of the collection is the state-of-the-art First World War Galleries , opened in 2014 to mark the centenary of the war's outbreak.
In the forecourt and the atrium above are Witnesses to War – everything from a Battle of Britain Spitfire and a towering German V-2 rocket to a Reuters Land Rover damaged by rocket attack in Gaza and a section of the World Trade Center in New York.
On the 1st floor A Family in Wartime poignantly follows WWII through the experiences of the real-life Allpress family of Stockwell. In Secret War on the 2nd floor, there’s an intriguing rifle through the work of the Secret Operations Executive (SOE), such as rubber soles resembling feet worn underneath boots to leave ‘footprints’ on enemy beaches. One of the most challenging sections is the extensive Holocaust Exhibition (not recommended for under 14s) on the 3rd floor. Curiosities of War is a jumble sale of fascinating items, such as a makeshift bar used by the Dam Busters crew in 1943, taken from the museum's collection.