The Imperial War Museum in London will open new galleries in the autumn documenting the Second World War and the Holocaust.

The £30.7 million project will open on October 2021 with the director-general of the Imperial War Museums (IWM) describing it as “almost seven years in the making”.

With more than 1,500 items, and personal stories from more than 80 countries, the Second World War galleries will show the reach of the global conflict.

In the Holocaust galleries, a section of concentration camp barracks will go on public display for first time in the UK.

To accompany the opening of the galleries, the IWM is publishing two books delving into the stories, events and themes explored in the galleries in further detail.

The museum is also co-ordinating a Holocaust learning programme and a regional partnership programme with bodies across the UK.

Diane Lees, director-general of IWM, said: “It has never been more important to learn about the Second World War and the Holocaust and to understand this defining period of the 20th century, which dramatically shaped the world we live in today.

“Though this conflict will soon pass out of living memory, leaving us without the first-hand testimony of its veterans, eyewitnesses and survivors, IWM will ensure that the experiences of those generations are never forgotten through our incredible new galleries, which have been almost seven years in the making.

“This has been one of IWM’s most ambitious projects to date, and we are very much looking forward to sharing the fascinating stories that these galleries will tell when we open their doors in October.”