A Famous Chelsea Institution
The National Army Museum may not get as much attention as the Imperial War Museum but it is none-the-less impactive. There are six floors displaying a myriad of different exihibits and artefacts including research facilities and a learning suite. The Museum’s focus is on the history of the British Army and how it has shaped our 21st century country. The British Army is operational in 80 countries today and it has had a dramatic effect on numerous nation in its life-time. Visitors can expect a highly informative tour covering many hundreds of years of history.
Exhibits include the role of the Army in various wars since as far back as the English Civil War from when it became a standing, professional force. It is highly thought-provoking and educational and stages multiple events, talks and temporary exhibitions. As well as café and a souvenir shop there is also a safe play area for children under 7.
The idea of the National Army Museum was seeded in the late 1950s and owes its existence to Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer raised funds for it. It came into existence by Royal Charter to exhibit objects related to the British Army and to encourage research into its history and traditions. Originally it was established at the former No.1 Riding School at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. The new building was started, in the ‘brutalist’ style, in 1961, and took over a decade to complete. The site was originally part of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the Chelsea Pensioners.
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