The museum at Middle Wallop on the A343 near Andover has been closed for five-months but hopes the revamp can increase visitor numbers by 15%
We've been given a special tour of the new look museum. Curator Susan Lindsay told us what the main changes were:
The work has included new aircraft, new exhibits, better lighting, a whole host of interactives and audio visual displays.
The funding for the re-development plan, called Project Eagle, came from a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, and was matched by a further £900,000 raised by the Museum itself, bringing the total project costs to nearly £3million.
The project focused on the expansion and modernisation of the Museum’s archive which contains a matchless record of Army flying exploits, and a complete update and reinterpretation of its unique collection.
The AFM is the only museum in the world dedicated to telling the internationally significant story of British Army flying.
The museum's unique location allows visitors to see Army aircraft in action, and tells stories of famous operations, from daring glider landings at Pegasus Bridge in Normandy on the eve of D-Day to operations in Suez, Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The project aims to get people involved with discovering and re-engaging with the stories of British Army flying - stories of courage, comradeship and innovation.
Featuring an important three-year community, educational and volunteer programme, there is also a new learning and schools programme, oral history project, pop up museum, internship programme, and kids club on site.
Chris Munns, Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is an important milestone and a testament to all those that have helped with the planning of the project and the excellent support that we have received from the volunteers.
“Once you get inside you will notice the difference straight away. The Museum has been completely re-laid out so that it is in a much more logical order.
“There are new graphic panels, new aircraft and an attack helicopter audio visual display that’s going to run every hour, which is really fantastic.”
Pictured above: Museum CEO Chris Munns pictured in front of the Army Flying Museum Memorial
Delivery of the project has been undertaken by a combination of volunteers and contractors, with one of the major areas of the work, redisplaying the aircraft collection, led by volunteer engineers.
Susan Lindsay, Curator, said: “We’ve brought our story up to date, we’ve made it more interactive, we’ve including lots more personal stories, and we’ve made our collections much more accessible to our visitors.”
You can find out more about the museum at https://www.armyflying.com/
Pictures, Audio and Video by Jonathan Richards