Youth Panel at the RAF Museum London

The RAF Museum’s younger audience is growing and becoming more diverse. We are proud to see how many young people are interested and inspired by the RAF’s history. To make our exhibitions more comprehensive and relevant for younger visitors we created last year our first Youth Panel, a group of young people aged 16 – 24 years old who help us improve our visitor experience at Museum for other young visitors.

Our 2018 Youth Panel was involved in testing our new ideas, running events for young people, finding more about the Museum and the RAF’s history and creating their own exhibition ‘A Century of Recruitment’.

Today we would like to share some insights from the young people who took part in our Youth Panel throughout 2018:

Hello! We’re the RAF Museum Youth Panel.

The RAF Museum's Youth Panel 2018

We are a group of 16 – 24 years old young people with a range of different interests.

The ‘A Century of Recruitment’ exhibition is our first major project as a group. Over the course of a week we’ve put together all the text, posters and pamphlets on display.

Here is a run-down of what we got up to!

Monday went by in a daze. We found out about Museum policies from the Head of Exhibitions with lots of documents to guide us for the week. We also heard from Nina Hadaway, the Museum’s Archive, Library and Research Manager about the Museum Archives and ate some biscuits. Having done (some) work, we decided to spend time testing out the new touch screen display in the Learning Centre. We finished the day with a live chat on the RAF careers web-page which didn’t really have the result we were looking for!

First day of work of our Youth Panel at the RAF Museum London

We worked in Archives searching through a selection of materials ranging from the early 20th to 21st Centuries including newspapers, posters and leaflets. It was amazing and interesting! We had a difficult time narrowing down what items to use as there were so many themes. We elected to call the RAF recruitment centre for some modern posters. After a brief call with the army we realised we had the wrong number! A notable highlight was “this is the army, you want a 6 instead of a 0 in the number”.

The RAF Museum's Youth Panel at work

We went to Tesco and spent a long time browsing sandwiches. 🙂

We began to (seriously) work, writing captions and paragraphs. We had so much we wanted to say so our exhibit contains only a small amount of our ideas! We mounted the materials.

Matt and Keya went to the Armed Forces Careers Office in Euston to pick up some modern examples of recruitment leaflets… and a spork.

We took a quality picture of us in the children’s play area.

The RAF Museum's Youth Panel 2018 in our children's play area

With the 12 o’clock deadline fast approaching, we were all panicking. We started putting things in the newly-cleaned casing to see how it fitted. Allison, Keya and George went off to finish the backing of the last few captions and Keya may have underestimated her strength while cutting, snapping the blade in two. No casualties but it sure scared George half to death. 🙂

The RAF Museum's Youth Panel at work

It was raining (for once) so we were all glad to be doing inside work. Keya came up with a few designs for a Youth Panel logo, but the Museum already has a logo so we’ll have to stick to that.

Youth Panel's logo

Today is the afternoon of the grand opening! We’ve put lots of hard work into this display and eaten lots of biscuits. We’re nervous but so excited to see it open! There’s going to be an unveiling of the display with a speech followed by drinks and nibbles and some mingling with Museum Staff. It’s going to be great to see all our hard work pay off!

The RAF Museum's Youth Panel at work

We can’t wait until next year to do it all again (for more biscuits, a bigger budget, lanyards and t-shirts or hoodies, we don’t mind).

Thank you for reading our blog post. We meet 3 or 4 times a year (pizza included) with other volunteering opportunities included as well.

From the Youth Panel xxx
(Zoe, Alison, Emilia, George, Keya and Matt)

The RAF Museum's Youth Panel Exhibition

The Youth Panel’s exhibition ‘A Century of Recruitment’ is still on display at the RAF Museum London and everyone can come and view the results of our young people’s work.

This year we are intending to continue this very successful experience and have put out a call to all young people aged 16-24 years old who would be interested in getting involved in our 2019 Youth Panel. We welcome applications from people of all interests, abilities, backgrounds and communities.

About the Author

Michael Odd: Access and Learning Officer

As an Access and Learning Officer I develop and deliver the RAF Museum’s school activity programme. I look after the STEM activities and events at the Museum and also lead the RAF Museum Youth Panel.