It was really exciting to have been asked to sign copies of A Weekend to Pack in the shop at the Imperial War Museum in London.
It was inspiring, too, to see the other books on the shelves and all the amazing titles.
I also took the opportunity to visit the museum’s newly opened Second World War Galleries.
What an experience.
They are superbly done. There is just the right balance between explaining the wider historical context and describing the stories of individual people and families to really bring home the reality of events and the truly global reach of the war.
Included among the more than 1,500 exhibits are all sorts of items – from uniforms, to weapons, letters, photos, toys, – personal items displayed in amongst historical artefacts, such as the pen used to sign France’s surrender in June 1940, and a piece of the wreckage of the USS Arizona, sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.
The gallery also hosts plenty of interactive experiences, and the recreation of a bombed 1940s house with its Anderson shelter is particularly evocative of the experiences of civilians.
If you’re going, allow plenty of time for your visit. We took over three hours to go round, and could have spent even longer in each of the galleries.