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RAF Museum Hendon - Closure / Dispersion of Battle of Britain Hall

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  • Arm Waver
    Certified...
    • Mar 2004
    • 3074

    #81
    I went to Hendon on Monday for the first time since December 2003 and was disappointed overall, which is not good as I intend to take our youngest and my wife there in the near future and I don't think, certainly from my wife's point of view, who does like aeroplanes, that the trip will be much of a success.

    I have been going since I was very young, and more often then too - I still have my 1974 edition of the guide book(!), when it was just the original hall and witnessed over the years the building of the BoB, Bomber Command (BCH) and Milestones Halls as well as the movement of the Graham-White building.

    The BCH had no coherence to it anymore - I don't think it is "marketed" as such any more - but it was all disjointed and there were loads of empty spaces. I agree with the comment regarding the Vulcan, it is wedged into the corner and is not well displayed as a result. The hall does not flow from the Milestones building very well either.
    The Milestones building seemed much emptier as well than when it first opened too.

    The original main hall was okay but again some parts are quite full and others have an empty feel to them. The original entrance lobby was just a dingy space with no appeal and just the cadet glider hanging from the roof. There seemed to be a lot of places on the whole site that seemed to be empty, wasted space. I was not impressed with the Belvedere rotor resting on a pad on the cockpit glazing of the EH101 either. The original dioramas in the upper galleries - more now wasted space - when it first opened were quite good and I am sure that a modern interpretation could be made in order to interest and engage young and old alike.

    The BoB hall was always interesting when it first opened but agree it is in need of a revamp of sorts. Whilst there were signs up telling the public about the survey work going on it had a feel of a "car boot" with the bits of the aircraft plonked in all sorts of places, although my friend and I did comment that it was nice to see inside parts of the aircraft that you would not normally see.

    Outside the state of the launches were not endearing and were not a good example to be set for the public. If they were under restoration then they needed a caption to state as such. I don't believe that they should be outside either being of wooden construction although I do appreciate that they were sea going and would be out in all weathers.

    The best presented part was the Graham-White building and the WWI display. This was clear and informative, although not sure about hanging the aircraft but it worked.

    Overall the place seemed a little run down and unloved with aircraft being dusty too. The actual site of the museum also felt hemmed in by the new building going on that appeared not to take into consideration the museum as a neighbour. Information as to what the other buildings on site would have been used for and put them into context would have been nice.

    I like the suggestions on here, of the 110 with the Lancaster, the Dornier 17 with a memorial to the German losses and more themed groupings - remember the Camm "collection" in the middle of the original hall?
    The RAF has almost a century of history and it needs to be displayed better certainly here. Cosford, especially the Cold War building, certainly are a better visit.
    It is only kinky the first time...

    Comment

    • Jur
      Jur
      40+ years in ATC
      • Aug 2003
      • 407

      #82
      RAF Museum Hendon 1980

      This is how the BoB Hall looked like in 1980

















      Last edited by Jur; 29th July 2016, 08:27.
      Jur

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      • Zidante
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Feb 2013
        • 174

        #83
        Personally, I'd rather see the He 163 relocate to Cosford than the Ju 88 if airframes are being shuffled.

        Nice pictures...

        Comment

        • CADman
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Aug 2008
          • 663

          #84
          Excellent set of photos Jur. Just as they should be displayed. No clutter, no special effect lighting and no pointless "info" banners hanging from the roof.

          Comment

          • Fouga23
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Jan 2006
            • 2257

            #85
            I quite like the 1980's display
            Magister Aviation
            It's all in my book

            Comment

            • Jur
              Jur
              40+ years in ATC
              • Aug 2003
              • 407

              #86
              Originally posted by CADman View Post
              Just as they should be displayed. No clutter, no special effect lighting and no pointless "info" banners hanging from the roof.
              Just my feeling CADman; I never was a fan of the gloomy display with effect spotlights.
              Jur

              Comment

              • Trolly Aux
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • May 2006
                • 3814

                #87
                I like the 1980s look but no good and not exciting enough for todays armchair kids, it needs to have a screen.
                I remember it like that
                SMOKE SMOKE GO!
                TA out

                Comment

                • Binbrook 01
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Dec 2004
                  • 608

                  #88
                  Tony C

                  Wittering is still an active RAF base, admittedly they only have Tutors flying from there now. Its also the transport and logistic hub.

                  Perhaps you meant RAF Lyneham or Cottesmore which have gone to the Army, which given the size of them means they can likely expand as opposed to whatever they were in before.

                  Lyneham airfield is now covered in solar panels. As is the now sold off RAF Coltishall.

                  And I don't think the cash strapped MoD would really want to stick the Hendon into a soon to close site they can make cash from for the government really (Mildenhall and Alconbury for example)

                  Tim

                  Comment

                  • RogerN
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Apr 2011
                    • 169

                    #89
                    I agree with TonyC it would be great to join Hendon, Cosford and Stafford all on one site. It would also be good if that site was home to the BBMF and possibly the Reds as well, an active airfield if only on limited scale is a bigger draw than as others have said a collection of statics no matter what there significance. Just my opinion.

                    Roger

                    Comment

                    • Tony C
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • May 2003
                      • 384

                      #90
                      Originally posted by Binbrook 01 View Post
                      Wittering is still an active RAF base, admittedly they only have Tutors flying from there now. Its also the transport and logistic hub.

                      Perhaps you meant RAF Lyneham or Cottesmore which have gone to the Army

                      Tim
                      Thanks for the correction Tim, my only excuse is that being of a certain age, my memory is not ....

                      What was I saying!

                      Well, you get the idea
                      Tony

                      ...and pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in Space cos there's bugg*r all down here on Earth!

                      Comment

                      • Tony C
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • May 2003
                        • 384

                        #91
                        Originally posted by RogerN View Post
                        I agree with TonyC it would be great to join Hendon, Cosford and Stafford all on one site. It would also be good if that site was home to the BBMF and possibly the Reds as well, an active airfield if only on limited scale is a bigger draw than as others have said a collection of statics no matter what there significance. Just my opinion
                        Thanks Roger and I agree about basing the BBMF and the Red Arrows at the same site, it think that would add to the attraction, certainly during the Airshow season!
                        Tony

                        ...and pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in Space cos there's bugg*r all down here on Earth!

                        Comment

                        • Binbrook 01
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Dec 2004
                          • 608

                          #92
                          No Problem Tony

                          In an ideal world Scampton would be a good choice. But there are other things apart from aircraft there.

                          And an airshow to squeeze in too

                          Tim

                          Comment

                          • xtangomike
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • May 2006
                            • 537

                            #93
                            Original pics taken outside the 'new' Hendon building circ 1970's ?

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                            'Where the hell have you been?'

                            Comment

                            • SADSACK
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Jan 2000
                              • 3482

                              #94
                              Going to the Raf museum in the early 80s is one of my earliest childhood memories :-) Years later when I got a paper round I used to get the coach down to London as often as possible... What we need is a government that values our people and its heritage which stops giving billions to party donors while axing defence budgets and closing museums.
                              pb::

                              Comment

                              • Meddle
                                Rank Bajin.
                                • Sep 2014
                                • 1626

                                #95
                                Originally posted by SADSACK View Post
                                Years later when I got a paper round I used to get the coach down to London as often as possible...
                                Out of sheer curiosity, what kept you going back? For me, museums are about discovery. Hendon doesn't seem so big that you cannot visit it all in one day. Did you simply enjoy seeing the same aircraft in the flesh?

                                Comment

                                • mmitch
                                  Member
                                  • Mar 2003
                                  • 1750

                                  #96
                                  Reading that 'plan' through, there is constant reference to 'digital technologies'. When I visited last September, there were broken displays with bits of paper stuck over them 'out of order.' The ATC display was screened off too. This is a problem with any video or sound display. The BofB Memorial at Capel en Ferne is impressive to see while still new but if it isn't maintained it will soon look drab.
                                  mmitch.

                                  Comment

                                  • CeBro
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Sep 2009
                                    • 2146

                                    #97
                                    Any pics of W1048 stored in the carpark by any chance?
                                    Cees

                                    Comment

                                    • Beermat
                                      1 Registered Rank Loser
                                      • Oct 2009
                                      • 3643

                                      #98
                                      Digital technologies.. As someone who works around the application of new software this is so often the nonsense we hear spouted by people who think just throwing in something vaguely 'computerish' will suddenly make an object 'interpretable', or an unexciting museum suddenly appealing to 'yoof'.

                                      So many misconceptions by highly-paid people, its hard to know where to start.

                                      The interactive thing? It'll always look pants - in fact, be a rubbish experience - next to the highly developed and tested games that the intended audience probably played in the back of the car on the way there.

                                      Software is an odd world. If it was a car, or even a toaster, that stopped working as frequently one would take it back. So if you think you can leave a bunch of interactive displays out there and running, based on the same rushed-to-market, flabby, overblown jack-of-all-trades OS's out there that we use at home (and they do), then you will get a lot of blue screens before you have had time to pay the first installment to Microsoft.

                                      But still they do it. Why? Why is a screen different from a noticeboard? It might have had some novelty in 1986, but the old people who think its going to impress kids now are painfully misguided.

                                      OK, if you spent a LOT of money developing something bespoke to attain the 'wow' factor (rather than focusing on being an aircraft museum) it might be worth it. But getting the student intern to download something he/she found in the App store that works on Windows 10 is going to end in the handwritten note taped to the screen.

                                      To be fair to the 2014 strategy document, there is an emphasis (I think) on using software for collections management - I think that's what they are getting at. That has to be a more appropriate application of 'digital technologies'.

                                      However, as for 'The Museum will invest to create a digital and an entrepreneurial culture within its staff and volunteers' I have no idea - unless they mean staff will be encouraged to illegally download and sell stuff?

                                      ..and speaking of misconceptions, I wish them luck making museum staff both voluntary and entrepreneurial.

                                      So, when it comes to the public face of the museum, don't spend the money on 'Digital Technologies' - you're not impressing anyone. Spend it on lighting the objects, keeping them clean, keeping them conserved, paying decent writers - try Copywriters - to write boards that are concise, snappy, but convey a lot of interesting information (not that the Mark V weighed 123lbs more than the Mark II, while you are looking at a Mark XIV), and please not a picture of the exact (to the uninitiated) object you are looking at. And put the museum next to some working examples, or at least in context - not on a dual carriageway in a suburb.
                                      Last edited by Beermat; 3rd June 2016, 17:37.
                                      www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                                      It's all good. Probably.

                                      Comment

                                      • vultee35
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Mar 2005
                                        • 1747

                                        #99
                                        I think many museum management teams, not just Hendon, would benefit from a visit to the Beamish Open Air Museum in the North East of England. It tells the story of life in Northern England from the 1800's up to the 1940's, and shortly a 1950's town will be added. Staff are all in period dress, vintage trams take you around the town, pit village, mine, manor, farm and various other sites.

                                        Two steam railways operate on site from different perids, giving free rides, all included in the entrance cost. There's period food establishments serve the visitors, and often housewives ( staff ) cooking biscuits on a cast iron range in some of the cottages. I don't believe any of the period buildings have any digital technology. The entrance cost is a valid ticket to return for free entry within a year, basically a yearly pass, as they know people will return and spend in the cafe's or shop if they can get back in free. Thousands of people visit and re-visit every year, so they must be doing something right.

                                        http://www.beamish.org.uk/
                                        Stephen Carr

                                        Only dead fish swim with the stream.

                                        See my Websites Here

                                        Comment

                                        • SADSACK
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Jan 2000
                                          • 3482

                                          Tbh, I enjoyed going and had pretty much the same routine... I often went every time something new was announced in Flypast, then a trip to Hannants, tea in Hendon central then home... costing me 2 weeks paper round.Happy days, no bills or responsibility!

                                          I loved exploring the Graham White Hangar and Control Tower before they were moved...neither were locked. Just wish I had taken pictures of the messages from servicemen in there, some were fascinating.
                                          pb::

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