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Gerrardandrews

Have we lost the Battle of Britain Hall at Hendon

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Gerrardandrews    454

I've a feeling the Battle of Britain hall is no more or changed it's name.

Sad, if that's the case, should have made more of this historical turning point of the War.

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T7 Models    4,887
Posted (edited)

RAFM will be using the Hall to house its exhibition on the RAF's centenary next year.

 

I agree, however. The Battle of Britain is the pivotal point in the RAF's history, whatever the revisionists like to say. On top of that the Battle of Britain Hall housed one of the finest collections of 1940s German combat aircraft anywhere. Unfortunately in the corporate world of museum management where everything must be relevant and family friendly and not too taxing for bears of little brain, I am dubious of just what RAFM is planning for the centenary exhibition.

 

Edited by T7 Models

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Julien    4,075

Yes we wait to see what they will do, I hope its good but like T7 I have my doubts. Even more so after a trip to the Imperial War Museum last year.

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Gerrardandrews    454

Maybe Political move, lot people like to sweep history under a big carpet.

We need a bigger museum for this historical event, not close it down.

 

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Julien    4,075

No as said before the hall is being used for a major exhibit to celebrate the 100 Years of the RAF. What happens after is anyones guess.

 

Can we also steer away from delving into politics please.  It's one of the few subjects that's not permitted here. :fraidnot:

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DennisTheBear    452

While I didn't get there when I visited England a few years ago (long story) I do hope that the Battle of Britain hall is reconstituted in some form, so that my wife and youngest daughter and I can visit it in the future.

 

The Battle of Britain was the first time during the Second World War that German forces were checked in a major campaign. This is one of the significant aspects of the battle, and one that resounded not only with the British but with other peoples that would experience the onslaught of the Axis powers.

 

History is a discipline that continually reassesses evidence, but that does not change the result of this pivotal campain.

 

DennisTheBear

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3DStewart    238
13 hours ago, T7 Models said:

RAFM will be using the Hall to house its exhibition on the RAF's centenary next year.

 

I agree, however. The Battle of Britain is the pivotal point in the RAF's history, whatever the revisionists like to say. On top of that the Battle of Britain Hall housed one of the finest collections of 1940s German combat aircraft anywhere. Unfortunately in the corporate world of museum management where everything must be relevant and family friendly and not too taxing for bears of little brain, I am dubious of just what RAFM is planning for the centenary exhibition.

 

 

I don't think you can criticise a museum for wanting to be relevant and family friendly.  The RAFM is paid for with public money so should be something that appeals to everybody.  Getting people through the door should be one of its primary objectives.  If you don't get people in you'll never be able to widen their interests and present history and knowledge to them they may not have come across before.

 

I see that some of Hendon's aircraft are moving up to Cosford.  The South's loss is the Midland's gain. 

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Julien    4,075

I dont think Mr T7 is criticising them being relevent as rightly said all museums have to do this to get people in, its more the taxing of little brains I, and no doubt he has the objection to.

 

I have no problems with multi media, interactive displays etc if, and I say IF they bring something to the museum, but not if they just replace genuine exhibits. The IWM used to have a really great collection of art in the upper galleries which if anything brought across the horrors of war more in my humble opinion than photos, films etc could do. Most of this collection ios not didplayed anymore. If does not have to be old paintings either, the new exhibit for the gulf etc was very good and relevent but is a bit tucked away. I still think even todays modern youth would be interested in Tanks, guns, aerpolanes etc to see. I know they are at Hendon and other museums I have been to so I feel removing this in favour of other things is not great.

 

We should not be too bad on Hemdon as we dont know what they are planning yet, so we will wait and see. I do feel that the BOB hall needs to be re-instated at some point as has been pointed out it was a pivitol moment in WWII and the collection houses some very rare (and in some cases only) surviving exhibits.

 

Julien

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stever219    827
Posted (edited)

Churchill described the Battle of Britain (how I abhor the commonly-used abbreviation "BoB"; would the Americans accept Pearl Harbour as "PH"?) as "their finest hour": 2020 will mark the 80th anniversary of that pivotal moment in history which, had it ended differently, would probably mean that none of us would be doing this (or perhaps even being permitted to do this) if we had ever come to exist at all.

 

With so few of the participants remaining alive that may be the last opportunity for those of us out here who have cause to be grateful for it to publicly show our gratitude and where might be better than a national museum exhibit........ Oh, we haven't got one any more, half of it's gone to Cosford and all we've got are some broken hands-on, no-longer-interactive gadgetry (the last time I visited the "Aeronauts" display a very high proportion of the "exhibits" in there were showing more than a bit of wear n tear and a number were completely inoperative).

 

I'm sorry this has become a bit of a rant: RAFM has, like so many other great museums, become a victim of the Blair government's "free museum access" policy which has denied them all day-to-day income, reducing immediately-available and locally-controlled funding for acquisition and conservation.  When one has a SWMBO whose attitude to donations is somewhere further to the right than Atilla the Hun and a monitoring system that makes the CIA look like rank amateurs it's difficult to slip the odd fiver or tenner in the box (yeah, rants and guilt trips in the same post, and lots of brackets too).

Edited by stever219
Missed bus; have to wait 30 mins for next, more rant time

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AWFK10    106

I've seen similar concerns expressed about the National Army Museum, which is reopening after a complete revamp which I've got to admit I hadn't realised was happening - I've not been out that way in many years. It must be at least a decade since I was in the IWM but a quick google suggests that not everybody is happy with its last makeover. Museums that I do visit have most certainly been 'dumbed down'. I've commented before on the Manchester Air and Space Museum (as was). I call in fairly regularly at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, for no other reason than that it's near Central Station and convenient when I've got time to kill waiting for my train. Compared to the wonderful old Museum of Science and Engineering of my childhood, which it absorbed, that element of its collections is the palest of shadows - interesting exhibits, the ones that haven't simply vanished, are displayed with no interpretation and/or in a way that makes them impossible to view properly, as if the museum resents being lumbered with them. Same with the so-called "Great North Museum" on the other side of town, which swallowed the old Hancock Museum (natural history) and the university's Museum of Antiquities but isn't a patch on either. I'm all in favour of museums developing in a way that captures people's imagination: staying on Tyneside, the Roman sites at Wallsend and South Shields have done it very successfully with reconstructed buildings. But aiming them at the lowest common denominator is counterproductive: they end up neither challenging casual visitors to increase their knowledge nor appealing to enthusiasts.

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Aeronut    735

Part of the problem with these revamped museums is the funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund who have a big say in how their cash is spent. He who pays the piper calls the tune, as the saying goes.

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JohnT    2,014

I have to say I too fear that revamping all too often results in mediocrity and banal push button toys for exhibits on the basis that modern man presumably needs something akin to an Xbox to attract his attention.  

 

Edinburgh Chambers Street is now a mish mash of fancy pricey cafes and disjointed exhibits with themed displays such as "The Vikings" that you pay a fee to see coupled with interactive exhibits that do not work.

 

Some years back I heard mutterings that East Fortune was being considered as too militaristic and that there needed to be more emphasis on civil aviation.  PC or what?  Last time I was there the time line display of Wot happened in WW2 had a very nice photo titled HMS Warspite fires broadside or something.  Good picture too.  Pity it was not Warspite but either Musashi or Yamato.  My ship identification is not good enough to distinguish which one but Warspite never had raked funnels and a floatplane on the back.  

 

The function of a museum is to educate way before entertaining. It's not a Disney theme park.

 

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MikeR    1,085

I think that many museums are at the tender mercies of the personal whims of the head curator or whoever actually manages the place.

 

Mike.

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T7 Models    4,887

Many of these head curators/chief executives have their management or tourism degrees but very little practical knowledge of how these places work or even of the subject they are about. This is why very often if you want to be informed go to the smaller, volunteer-led places. They may not have all the flashy displays. but you can be sure that what they do have is accurate and the people on duty will know about the subject.

 

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Seahawk    1,168
Posted (edited)

Of which Brooklands is a shining example.  Hit the place during the week and you will be falling over people, frequently with direct hands-on experience, only too keen to talk about and even demonstrate the exhibits.  Sadly they are all getting older but the enthusiasm shines through. Gratuitous plug but credit where it is due.

 

Not sure assuming visitors are brain-dead will be a successful way ahead for museums.  Just back where from the island of Grenada, where the signboards at various viewpoints did not assume that explanations of rock formation, erosion, vegetation processes, etc were beyond the mental grasp of visitors.  Mind you, education is not a dirty word there. 

Edited by Seahawk

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old thumper    2,697

I agree that there should be a separate Battle of Britain collection, it is only common sense to group these aircraft together and who would want to break the collection up and scatter it's aircraft to other parts of the museum or museums.

Most of all I would like to see these aircraft exhibited in an area with enough space to be able to walk round them, and most importantly in an area with proper lighting. The last time I visited you couldn't get close enough to the aircraft to see them in the dark, it was like looking for a screwdriver in my shed after nightfall.

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Aeronut    735
Quote

I would like to see these aircraft exhibited in an area with enough space to be able to walk round them, and most importantly in an area with proper lighting.

 

I agree and said so to the HLF advisers for the bid being placed with them by the museum I volunteer at. The look I got said it all - no one goes to a museum for research any more. :lalala:

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old thumper    2,697
6 hours ago, Aeronut said:

 

I agree and said so to the HLF advisers for the bid being placed with them by the museum I volunteer at. The look I got said it all - no one goes to a museum for research any more. :lalala:

 

I only want to get close enough and to have enough light to see the exhibits though :rage:.

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ian buick    147

I recently visited Hendon and, despite being part building site, it was very busy with local schoolkids on holiday and excited foreign tourists, all of whom seemed to be enjoying their visit.

I happen to believe Hendon to be a wonderful museum that needs spruced-up, but not fundamentally altered. The Battle of Britain hall certainly needed a `spring clean` and some better lighting, but the essence should not change. Surely the battle in which the RAF saved the nation should be a major focal point of the RAF museum. That, in turn, means the display of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Messerschmitts, Heinkels, etc. Or, to put it another way, an improved version of the hall as once was.

 

I was very impressed by the way the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, and Historic Dockyard at Portsmouth, balance the need to inform and entertain. The Jutland experience at Portsmouth and carrier experience at Yeovilton being good examples of how to strike this balance.

Less impressed with the refurbished National Army Museum in Chelsea that occasionally seemed to me to be purposefully distant from the army. Something borne out by the rolling poll they take after you view all the floors, the results of which (during my visit) was that over 50% of those polled had a negative view of the army, with 32% viewing it as a force for evil. I can`t help but wonder how many formed a negative view as a result of their visit, and how many arrived with a negative view that the museum did little to change.

Although, going by tripadvisor, plenty seem to approve of the changes.

 

I hope, by contrast, that Hendon retains the essence of what it is, whiles understanding the need to keep pace with the times. Yeovilton and Portsmouth manage this, and remain busy, proving it can be done. I don`t expect tub-thumping jingoism from a museum, but I do expect a museum of a branch of the armed forces to have an emotional contact with the subject at hand. Something Portsmouth, Yeovilton, and Hendon have all previously managed without glorifying war, or the aforementioned tub-thumping. Their desire to display artefacts and inform is what makes them great attractions, something which I hope that Hendon continues.

As a small aside, speaking to staff at Hendon, it appears that work will not be complete by April 1st 2018, but it is hoped to be majority complete. 

I also noted that they are requesting public comments and suggestions.

 

Cheers, Ian

 

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rayprit    276

What we have here and its happeneing in many museums is a generational change!!!  As the older people that ran theses places are passing away or moving on, they are being replaced by a much newer breed of younger management,  Whereas the previous generation(mine) chose to preserve, cherish and enlarge the collection, the newer generation fail to see its importance any more, last thing they want is stuffy old pieces of metal in their museums, they look to the future and hopefully by removing exhibits bit by bit ; until eventually the items removed are just a thing of the past.  indeed as someone has already pointed out, part of the BoB collection winged its way to Cosford and I am sure, more will follow or be loaned to other museums.

 

Tourism, is the name of the game, footfall through the entrance, family activeties.  A bit of an annoyance to many of us, but a sign of the times as time marches on.  Eventually these great occasions in Englands history will be just like Battle of Hastings, Azincourt, Battle of Bosworth, War of the Roses and many more - You will be able to read about them in books, no artifacts remain as none exist.... Battle of Britian in 100 years time will just be a dusty picture somewhere on a wall. To the genereation in 100 years time, the BoB will be a brief couple of lines in a book - if that..................drip, drip effect is happening, or put another way, thin end of the wedge - Museums are changing................look now at the much heralded Birmingham Science Museum..............a massive greenhouse..................rant over

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Julien    4,075
2 hours ago, ian buick said:

I recently visited Hendon and, despite being part building site, it was very busy with local schoolkids on holiday and excited foreign tourists, all of whom seemed to be enjoying their visit.

I happen to believe Hendon to be a wonderful museum that needs spruced-up, but not fundamentally altered. The Battle of Britain hall certainly needed a `spring clean` and some better lighting, but the essence should not change. Surely the battle in which the RAF saved the nation should be a major focal point of the RAF museum. That, in turn, means the display of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Messerschmitts, Heinkels, etc. Or, to put it another way, an improved version of the hall as once was.

 

I was very impressed by the way the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, and Historic Dockyard at Portsmouth, balance the need to inform and entertain. The Jutland experience at Portsmouth and carrier experience at Yeovilton being good examples of how to strike this balance.

Less impressed with the refurbished National Army Museum in Chelsea that occasionally seemed to me to be purposefully distant from the army. Something borne out by the rolling poll they take after you view all the floors, the results of which (during my visit) was that over 50% of those polled had a negative view of the army, with 32% viewing it as a force for evil. I can`t help but wonder how many formed a negative view as a result of their visit, and how many arrived with a negative view that the museum did little to change.

Although, going by tripadvisor, plenty seem to approve of the changes.

 

I hope, by contrast, that Hendon retains the essence of what it is, whiles understanding the need to keep pace with the times. Yeovilton and Portsmouth manage this, and remain busy, proving it can be done. I don`t expect tub-thumping jingoism from a museum, but I do expect a museum of a branch of the armed forces to have an emotional contact with the subject at hand. Something Portsmouth, Yeovilton, and Hendon have all previously managed without glorifying war, or the aforementioned tub-thumping. Their desire to display artefacts and inform is what makes them great attractions, something which I hope that Hendon continues.

As a small aside, speaking to staff at Hendon, it appears that work will not be complete by April 1st 2018, but it is hoped to be majority complete. 

I also noted that they are requesting public comments and suggestions.

 

Cheers, Ian

 

Oh dear I was looking forward to going back to the Army Museum which I used to love. 

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Aeronut    735

Another UK museum undertaking a Heritage Lottery funded re-vamp is the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop.

I understand that towards the back end of next year it will be closing whilst work is carried out. 

Whilst some of the current exhibits will move around to allow for a more chronological display, the closure is mainly to allow some of the aircraft currently in store (ie A109, Apache and Islander) to be put on display.

Incidentally a memorial dedicated to all army personnel killed as part of Army flying operations (it covers ground as well as air crew) is due to be unveiled next week. The percentage of names from 1917 compared to the other 130 odd years is sobering.

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ian buick    147
4 hours ago, Julien said:

Oh dear I was looking forward to going back to the Army Museum which I used to love. 

I was similarly a big fan of NAM as was.

Certainly don`t take my word for it, I can only offer my personal opinion, but if you didn`t like the IWM refurb, then I suspect you won`t like the NAM refurb either. I rather found the IWM refurb tolerable, though I understood why some were critical, but the NAM refurb is `open plan contemplative space` which decodes as `less stuff`.

The Waterloo model is stuck in a corner and is poorly lit, yet the accompanying display clearly took a lot of effort and could have been done better. Even with a reasonable knowledge of Waterloo, the interactive display often seems to work against the model like two different tunes playing over one another.

NAM was once on my `must see` London list, back in the day; but I`ve seen the new one and I never have to see it again.

Personal opinion again; but there were occasions I felt a wee bit patronised at NAM.

Each to their own, and as I`m often wrong I would still suggest people give it a go and make-up their own mind.

It is, after all, free admission, and some of the artwork is spectacular and thought-provoking.

 

Enthusiasts of BM hue probably better head for Duxford, Yeovilton, Hendon, Bovington etc...

 

Cheers, Ian ;)

 

 

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Chimpion    221

I have nothing but praise for the RAFM. At the end of May I was there in the aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack. They had very high-level security (mirrors under the car, looking under the bonnet - had fun funding the release lever on the hire car), and had closed all except the main hall for security reasons. I asked at the desk if they would have enough staff on over the weekend (it was the Spring Bank Holiday) to open the other halls, as I was only in the UK for a few days and would come back on the Monday if more would be open. The receptionist called someone to check, and low and behold an assistant appeared to give me a personal tour of the closed areas!

Needless to say, I did make a donation on the way out, though I did then notice that the security checks had carefully hidden the car park machines. Hope a big fine isn't trying to find it's way to me - so far so good.....

It is a great museum though.

Andy.

 

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