Ref NoRC/73
TitleImperial War Museum
DescriptionIn March 1917 the War Cabinet approved the formation of a National War Museum and a committee was formed to deal with its general organisation. The function of the museum was to collect War trophies, books, maps, medals, posters, pictures and other material connected with the War. The Imperial War Museum Act was passed on 2 July 1920, with a change in the museum's name.

For the duration of the War, exhibitions of paintings, photographs and War trophies were held at the Royal Academy but after the signing of the Armistice the museum took over part of the main floor of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham and was formally opened by the King on 9 June 1920.

This arrangement continued until 1924 when, with the termination of the agreement with the Crystal Palace Trustees, the Museum moved to the Western Galleries on the Commissioners' Estate. These Galleries - both Eastern and Western - had been erected in 1870 and leased to the Government in 1891 for a term of 50 years. It was the transfer to its main museum building of sections of the Science Museum, which had for may years occupied the Western Galleries, that made space available for the Imperial War Museum, although its library, photographic collection and board room were housed at 178 Queen's Gate.

In 1936 the Imperial War Museum and all its collections, including the aeronautical collection which had been on loan to the Science Museum, moved to Lambeth to be housed, after alterations, in the building formerly occupied by the Bethlem Royal Hospital.
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