Museums - Aviation
With the exception of the Imperial War Museum, Duxford all the museums feattured on this page are pivately owned, mostly by charitable trusts, and many of them staffed exclusively by volunteers.
The Imperial War Museum Duxford, near Cambridge, is established as the European centre of aviation history. The historic site, outstanding collections of exhibits and regular world-renowned air shows combine to create a unique museum where history really is in the air.
The air and sea exhibits show how submarines, torpedoes and aircraft changed the nature of war at sea. This is a reconstruction of the 1940 Operations Room where Duxford’s fighter aircraft were directed into combat during the Battle of Britain, itself the subject of an exhibition examining this pivotal moment in Britain’s history, as well as looking at the air defence of the UK during the First World War and Cold War.
The American Air Museum at Duxford stands as a memorial to the 30,000 American airmen who gave their lives flying from UK bases in defence of liberty during the Second World War, and also honours those who fought in Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Iraq and other conflicts and battles of the 20th and 21st centuries. The outstanding example of contemporary British architecture by Foster and Partners houses the largest collection of American warbirds on display outside the United States, including a vintage B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, P-47 Thunderbolt, and aircraft from the Cold War era such as a B-52 Stratofortress, SR-71 Blackbird and F-4 Phantom, with many suspended from the ceiling as if in flight.
The Aircraft Hall contains over 30 historic British and Commonwealth aircraft, including a de Havilland Comet, A Spitfire, Lancaster , Vulcan, Canberra and Concorde.
Land Warfare houses Duxford's collection of tanks, military vehicles and artillery. It shows the technological advances in twentieth-century warfare.
Duxford’s static exhibitions are complemented by an active airfield, with flying on many occasions during the year.
The City of Norwich Aviation Museum started out as an aviation enthusiasts' group for members of the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company way back in 1977. The membership was later opened up to non employees and a temporary site was secured on the 17/35 runway at Norwich Airport.
The museum The City of Norwich Aviation Museum is located at the edge of Norwich Airport, allowing viewing of airport activity. The internal displays trace the history of aviation in Norfolk, particularly at RAF Horsham St Faith and in the Norwich area. One hall is devoted to the work of 100 Group, RAF Bomber Command, the radio countermeasures unit and the presence of the USAAF 8th Air Force in East Anglia during World War Two.
The Biggest exhibit is the Avro Vulcan B2. A Westland Whirlwind helicopter is on permanent loan to the museum and the collection, which extends to over fifteen aircraft and 6 cockpits, also includes a Harrier Jump Jet, Hawker Hunter, Jaguar, Nimrod and a Lightning built for the Royal Saudi Air Force.
For two years during World War II some seventy sites across East Anglia became launch pads for USAAF’s bombing raids into occupied Europe. Each airfield was home to 2000-3000 airmen and ground crew, most of them volunteers. The airfields became known as ‘The Fields of Little America’. The 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum is based in the control tower and other buildings at RAF Thorpe Abbots, home from 1943 to 1945 to the 100th Bomb Group.
Displays recount the bravery and danger of the men’s daily lives as well as the way, for two years, they made this corner of Norfolk their home. Packed with personal stories and memorabilia, this inspiring and beautifully cared for museum really brings to life an amazing period in Norfolk and world history.The Muckleburgh Collection, situated on a former army camp on the North Norfolk coast at Weybourne, comprises over 120 tanks, guns and vehicles as well as thousands of other items. The vehicles on display have come from far and wide: Russia, Norway, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Holland, Eire, Syria, Kuwait, Israel, the Falkland Islands, the United States and Iraq. Most of the Collection's vehicles have undergone restoration to ensure they are kept in working order and the Collection is well known for its tank driving experiences.
Other fine exhibits include historic memorabilia from The Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry, RAF Reconnaissance, Air Sea Rescue and Marine Craft, and a unique collection of naval and civilian ship models. There is a restaurant and shop and visitors have the opportunity of seeing a tank demonstration and of enjoying a bumpy coastal ride in an American Gama Goat personnel carrier.
A children’s play area and picnic site give all members of the family an exciting day out.