Imperial War Museum Duxford

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

During World War I, the need for additional airplane stations was growing, leading to the construction of the aerodrome at Duxford. This station was used to train men for service in the RFC aircrew, and in 1917 the first group of Royal Flying Corps airmen was dispatched to the Duxford station. The Royal Air Force was established in 1918, with the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, and in the same year, the doors to the Duxford flying school were opened. All this activity left Duxford with a rich aviation history and the ideal location for the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

After Duxford was used as a disbandment base for squadrons when the war came to an end, it continued as a flying school in 1920. Fighter squadrons were established in the following years, with Duxford becoming a fighter station, a role it fulfilled for thirty seven years. In 1969, the Ministry of Defence offered alternative plans for the airfield, such as a prison and sports centre, but none of these plans were ever carried through. It just so happened that the Imperial War Museum was looking for the ideal location to house their museum, where repairs and renovations could be done, and that would large enough to house their exhibits. So, in 1977, with the assistance and collaboration of various entities, the aerodrome was purchased and renovated and became the official home of the Imperial War Museum Duxford. As expected, the museum has an exhibit detailing the history of Duxford, and amongst its more than thirty military aircraft on display, visitors can look forward to exhibits such as Air and Sea, the Battle of Britain, Conservation in Action, 1940 Operations Rooms, American Air Museum and Land Warfare.

The Imperial War Museum Duxford also has a variety of interactive exhibits to enjoy, offering fun and education to both the older and younger generations. During the year, the museum hosts numerous air shows to raise funds, as it is a charitable organization, and any donations made by visitors are used to maintain and restore the exhibits within the museum. Visiting the Imperial War Museum Duxford is a fascinating and memorable experience, bringing the past to life and documenting the heritage of aviation in Duxford and of Great Britain.

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