Learning Resource Themes

This resource is intended primarily for young people. Selected objects from the National Portrait Gallery and partner museums provide visual evidence of the War in its local, national and international contexts. Each object commentary is accompanied by enquiries for shared discussion, and follow-up activities for self-directed study. Relevant links are included to the creative workshops and participating artists' work to extend concepts and ideas.

Messages and Meanings: Words of War

In this theme you can explore the private evidence of letters and cards, diaries, memoirs and poems - as well the messages conveyed by official documents such as army forms, government propaganda and recruiting posters.

Picturing Conflict: the Arts of War

In this theme you can look at examples of work produced by amateurs as well as professionals - paintings, drawings, posters, and several kinds of photograph. You can compare these varied representations of the war and find out about the different contexts in which they were produced.

Dirt and Danger, Tragedy and Glory: Enduring the War

This theme presents the personal experiences of some of those who endured the war – soldiers, airmen and sailors, nurses, doctors and artists.  Many were extremely young at the time; many did not survive; no one was unchanged by their experiences.

Keep the Home Fires Burning: War and Work at Home

This theme explores the wide-ranging impacts of the war on British society, agriculture, trade and industry. It looks at the new roles created for women in the workplace; and the many social changes and opportunities - as well the hardships and deep suffering – caused by the war.