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Conservation Centre

Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC)

The Michael Beetham Conservation Centre, located at our Midlands site, is responsible for aircraft and large 3D artefacts in the Museum and those on loan. A world centre of excellence, its primary function includes care, conservation and restoration of the National Collection along with the movement or suspension of aircraft or large exhibits.

The work is carried out by 10 professional technicians, who are ably supported by dedicated and trained volunteers, some 50 in number. Past and present projects include the Sopwith Dolphin, Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX, a Vickers Wellington Mk 10B bomber, a rare Handley Page Hampden TB1 and the recovered German Dornier 17Z light bomber. The team lead aircraft movements between both sites as part of new exciting exhibitions.

Every project is a challenge, a journey back through time, utilising old or forgotten skills to repair, restore or replicate the original. Such skills were becoming lost, but the Museum has, through the dedication of the MBCC, rejuvenated and retained many through innovative and award-winning schemes. Currently employing six apprentices on an advance modern apprenticeship, the scheme has won numerous national and regional awards over the years. The MBCC and apprenticeship scheme enjoy a great relationship with the Wolverhampton College, who provide the courses and the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton who hold an annual Apprentice of the Year award dinner.

The MBCC is a fascinating place, full of atmosphere, dedication and a passion for preserving our National Military Aviation Heritage. With it being an engineering environment it is rarely open to visitors, but we do have an annual Open Week.

We hope you’ll visit us soon, to experience history working at its best and help share the story of the RAF.

Darren Priday
Manager, Michael Beetham Conservation Centre