wHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE MUSEUM?
aircraft hall closure 2021
UPDATE 11 June 2021
After six weeks of hard work behind the scenes, we’re excited to announce that our Aircraft Hall is open once again, featuring fabulous new lighting and some new views!
As you may recall, the main purpose of the project was to carry out a major lighting upgrade. All the original 1980s incandescent lights and nearly 4 kilometres of electrical cabling were removed and replaced with modern LED lights. These lights are not only more efficient, but also more easily controlled, and have enabled us to incorporate some dynamic effects in the space which will allow visitors to experience the aircraft in new ways.
We are aware that some people used to get frustrated when trying to take photos of the aircraft in the darkened space previously, so we’ve programmed a brighter, more natural ‘daylight’ setting to enable the aircraft to be viewed in a clearer state. This should make photography much easier. The main difference, however, is that the lighting is not static. Half the cycle will be the daylight setting, while in the other half, the lighting will transition through various levels to suggest different times of day, which will create a stunning theatrical effect. So at times, yes, it may be a bit darker, but that only lasts a few moments before it lightens again.
Eagle-eyed visitors may notice a few other changes, although perhaps not dramatic ones, as this is just the first stage in an evolutionary revamp of the Aircraft Hall as a museum gallery. Among other things, the Airspeed Oxford has been moved onto permanent display, while fans of the Avenger will hopefully enjoy seeing it now with its wings spread. The mannequins have been retired after more than 30 years’ faithful service, as let’s just say the years have not been kind to them and they deserve a well-earned rest. They will be replaced at some point in the future with newer versions.
The new layout at the end of the Hall, with the Iroquois now taking centre stage, has been deliberately designed to prevent aircraft having to be moved in and out when functions are held in that space, which will not only make life easier for our Technical Team, but it will also mean the visitor experience is compromised far less than it used to be on account of our functions activity.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, the completion of the lighting upgrade and aircraft reshuffle is the first in a multi-stage revamp of the Aircraft Hall. Going forward you can expect to see a gradual programme of improvements, including revised interpretation, more audio-visual effects, interactives, etc.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to the team at The Light Site for the incredible work they’ve put in over the past few weeks. We’d also like to thank our visitors for your patience while we’ve carried out this essential work, and hope that you come back soon to experience the refreshed Aircraft Hall! We’d love to hear what you think about it, so please do share your thoughts with us. You can send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 01/06/2021: Progress on this large complex project is progressing well. At present we have a tentative reopening date of Friday 11 June. We will update you closer to the time to confirm our progress and to give you some background information on what to expect.
For the first time in more than 30 years, our Aircraft Hall will be temporarily closed to visitors while we implement a major upgrade to our lighting system. The video above gives a brief overview of the details below.
All of the old 1980s-era incandescent lights and more than 4 kilometres of electrical cabling will be removed, and replaced with modern LED lights. Not only will the new LEDs be more energy efficient, but they will also be more easily controlled, enabling us to make some enhancements to the way in which visitors experience the aircraft within that space.
During this time, we are also taking the opportunity to refresh our aircraft display, which has remained in essentially the same configuration since the Museum first opened in 1987. When the space reopens at the end of May, regular visitors will notice some significant changes to the layout which we hope will enable you to engage with our collection in new ways (you may even see something new!).
We appreciate that the closure of this gallery may be frustrating, and we do sincerely apologise for any inconvenience. However, these essential works are the first steps to a revitalised Aircraft Hall, which will improve our visitor experience and help us better share the stories of our Air Force.
Please note that Behind the Scenes tours will continue to run during this period, with the Reserve Collection and Conservation Workshops being accessed via an alternative route.
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