After an eventful 2020, the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum has used the time to develop new projects and prepare exhibits of its collections yet to be seen by the general public. Steve Bell tells more...
Preparations are under way for our December open days having, as all museums, been closed since 1st November. Usually the museum closes between mid December and mid January, but this isn’t a “usual” year. We will be open on Sunday 13th, Sunday 20th, Tuesday 29th, Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st, all from 10am to 3pm.
A first for the museum is that we aim to have several items of art from our large store on display. This display is temporary, and after the last of the open days in December the works will be returned to store to protect them from the winter conditions in the hangar. Around 100 pieces of art will be displayed, this is approximately a fifth to a quarter of the items in store. Most of these items have never been displayed to the public before.
As part of our future reopening of the NAAFI (our cafe) under the current restrictions it is necessary that people in the cafe area are (separate) to those in the museum area. This necessitated the construction of some large screens by our carpenters, and the purchase of purpose built smaller screens. These items were purchased via a lottery grant that the museum was awarded by the HLEF to enable it to reopen. The surfaces of all these screens lend themselves very well to the display of art. The museum aims to run future exhibitions as well, these will be published in advance on our blog.
The Visitor Reception Point (some misinformed people might call it a shed) is also progressing well. With the new restrictions we need to be aware of how many people are on site concurrently. To that end two volunteers are stationed by the gate. In the run up to October we used a Civil Defence Signal Van as shelter for these volunteers, but it was very difficult to heat and was rather high off the ground. A longer term solution was required, this took the form of our new Visitor Reception Point. This started life as a potting shed! Various modifications are being made, both to make it a better environment for the volunteers, and a nicer welcome point for the visitors.
An additional window has been added to enable the welcome staff to see approaching visitors. The remainder of the inside has been insulated and the insulation will be clad next. It is hoped that it will be complete to allow the welcome staff to shelter between visitors from the December weather.
There is just one argument to resolve now, do we paint the outside RAF Blue, or Red and White Checks (as per a runway control caravan)? It’s a close run vote within the museum.