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RAF Museum : 100 years of the RAF

On 1st April 2018, the Royal Air Force celebrated its 100th birthday. To mark this milestone the RAF and the award-winning RAF Museum will celebrate and commemorate the anniversary through a major transformation of its visitor experience.

A multi-million-pound transformation of the RAF Museum’s London home will welcome visitors to discover a new green heart of the community in Colindale, North West London, reflecting the historic RAF Hendon airfield. The newly landscaped site includes outdoor picnic areas, children’s playground, restaurant, visitor car parking, and fully accessible pathways.

Two new, innovative galleries will explore the first 100 years of the RAF, its roles today and invite visitors to imagine its future contribution and technology. A third new exhibition will focus on the story of the RAF from the Falklands Conflict of the early 1980s to current operations.

The newly developed exhibitions will open at the end of June 2018 as part of the wider calendar of RAF 100 events celebrating and commemorating the RAF’s Centenary across the country.

Each exhibition will represent the diversity and inclusivity of the Royal Air Force and focus on the people behind the blue uniforms. Over 500 previously unseen artefacts relating to RAF history will be on display including logbooks, uniforms, lucky charms and technical equipment. These items have been carefully selected by the museum curators for their ability to engage visitors with a fresh perspective on the RAF story.

The museum is also launching RAF Stories – an online digital project which will inspire participants to share accounts of the Royal Air Force. RAF Stories will include stories, not just from former and serving personnel, but also from their friends and family as well as partners who work closely with the RAF. RAF Stories is a global effort to uncover tales ranging from humour to heroism.

Alongside the transformation of the RAF Museum, a series of special public events to mark the RAF Centenary will be held by the museum including a Spitfire 10k run; Open Cockpit evenings; and family events such as the Hendon Pageant and the Family Festival of Flight.

The RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme is supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The HLF invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.

The museum occupies two public sites – Colindale in North London, and Cosford in Shropshire, West Midlands. The London site was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1972 while the museum at Cosford was opened in 1979. Both museums are free to enter.

By instigating these improvements to the RAF Museum, visitors will be able to reflect on RAF achievements to date, celebrate the work it is currently doing and look forward to the next 100 years. To find out more about the museum and the upcoming centenary programme, please visit www.rafmueum.org.

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