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Enjoy lunch in the Refuel Restaurant with views overlooking the airfield. The Citroen Van in the National Cold War Exhibition is ideal for morning coffee and a cake.
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
A car parking charge Is payable
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Discover our brand new green space in which to picnic and relax
When you need to refuel during your visit why not visit Claude's between Hangars 2 and 6? At this eatery you will find a variety of delicious home-made offerings to suit all tastes and pockets
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone one from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
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Without you assistance we would not be able to care for our collections, read our varied audiences or share our objects with a world wide audience.
Two of our Trustees set out on an epic walk-a-thon in aid of the RAF Museum Centenary Programme.
If you have any questions about supporting the RAF Museum, here you can find out how to contact our Fundraising Department.
The Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation ensures that the shared aviation heritage of the USA and the UK is kept alive in the memories of our two great nations.
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The following article sets out the Museum's vision for its RAF Centenary Programme and the redevelopment of the Museum's London site. It is based on an interview with our CEO Maggie Appleton, which was published in the January 2016 edition of Flypast magazine.
Hendon originally became an RAF station in 1922 and is due to be extensively changed in time for the Centenary of the RAF in 2018. In discussing these ambitious plans, the first thing that’s obvious is Maggie’s love for the Museum, and enthusiasm for the project. Not only has she been a regular visitor for many years, but her father was a wartime Lancaster armourer, something which lends fuel to her passion.
Maggie starts by explaining that some areas around the Museum, including the current car park and paved section by the entrance, will be grassed over, to not only open up the site aesthetically, but also to bring back some of the former station’s “echoes” as she likes to call them. Maggie explains that it’s planned to have runway style paths across the grass, broadening the Museum’s appeal from a wet weather attraction into an inspiring public space that can be enjoyed through all the seasons, and featuring a picnic area and children’s playground. The Museum is also keen to take down the imposing fences at the front to improve the visitor entrance.
It’s at this point that things really will start to change. Apart from the Short Sunderland, which will be staying where it is, Hangar 1 will be transformed with two new exhibitions. Foremost will be the ‘First 100 Year of the RAF’ display – focusing on the people of the RAF through its lifetime. The second has a working title ‘Now and the Future’, and will be a place where people can look at what the next stages for the RAF are. It’s something that former social history curator Maggie is keen to promote: “We want to encourage conversations,” she says. “It could be a platform for discussions and to make people really think. It’s not just about the past.”
First, however, the Battle of Britain collection will need to be moved across to the main gallery and the Museum’s Cosford site. This is a process that will involve several very complicated manoeuvres, with many of the aeroplanes seeing the sunlight for the first time in many years. The Museum will be interpreting the Battle of Britain story within the wider context of the Second World War across both London and Cosford – which currently does not reference this important chapter in the RAF’s history.
Also moving to covered accommodation near Hangar 1 at London will be the two RAF Air Sea Rescue launches, which currently sit near the car park, and which are to undergo conservation with advice from the National Maritime Museum. This will open up the site even more, enabling visitors to better appreciate the older buildings behind.
The 1931-vintage supplies building will become the restaurant, giving it a new lease of life, and enhancing its future. One idea is to fit it out to tell the story of the famous pre-war Hendon Air Pageants, which attracted tens of thousands of people from across the capital. As Maggie points out: “The airfield has been a visitor attraction from the beginning. There’s a golden thread of people coming to Hendon for a day out.”
In the last year £10m was raised through fundraising, but as Maggie points out, there’s still around £8m to raise this year alone – no mean feat. The public fundraising campaign was launched at Horse Guard’s Parade in London on April 1 – the birthday of the RAF. Titled ‘Names on a Plane’, it enables donors to have their names written on the underside of a Red Arrows hawk for next year's flying season, for as little as £30.
“It’s about building support,” Maggie says. “We’re also looking at aircraft loans, and possibly lending an iconic object out to one of our partner museums in the USA. We should be getting our exhibits out; lending our aircraft around the UK and beyond is part of what we should do as a National Museum. In fact, there’s a Spitfire visiting Bahrain’s national museum at present.
“It’s a massive privilege to be here,” she smiles. “The team are incredible, I can’t even begin to describe their depth of knowledge and passion. I take an opportunity to walk through the galleries every day when I am here. It’s invaluable to see how the visitors engage with the museum, and I enjoying talking to my colleagues across the team.
When complete, the Museum at London will be not only a visitor attraction to impress even the most hardened visitors, but also a centre of the community. Finally, and most importantly, the hard work that is going into its transformation will see it remain as a tribute to the brave men and women who have served in the RAF since its inception in 1918.
For now, the clock is ticking to get the work complete.
“There’s not much room for slip-ups,” finishes Maggie. “We’ve all got to keep focused, because summer 2018 is now very close indeed.”
Republished and amended with the kind permission of Flypast Magazine.
10.00am - 6.00pm [last entry 5.30pm]
Applies March to October
10.00am - 5.00pm [last entry 4:30pm]
Applies November to February
A car parking charge is payable.
Contact us T: 020 8205 2266
Please use postcode NW9 5QW.
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