The Royal Air Force Museum has been awarded investment from The National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund for a major regional engagement programme and site transformation.

Its RAF Museum Midlands Development Programme will see the creation of an immersive exhibition exploring today’s RAF, a new Learning Centre, a purpose-built Collections Hub, and the development of a woodland landscape to encourage outdoor learning.

The project will also support the Museum to achieve its commitment to Carbon Net Zero by 2030. The museum said throughout the programme it will learn alongside the RAF, working with its environmental think tank to invest in sustainable technologies and operations.

The museum said the transformation and multi-strand engagement programme will be “underpinned by, and feed into, activities that welcome more of our communities to use the RAF Museum and RAF Story as a resource, enabling us to play a more impactful role across the Midlands”.

The project will be supported by a number of funders including The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as the RAF Museum’s own investment. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has supported the RAF Museum’s application for £5m at first round towards its £22.1m project.

The Museum will now enter into a development phase, before building work commences in early 2025, and is expected to be complete by summer 2027.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s investment is a “significant contribution” towards the Museum’s fundraising campaign for the project, it said. Its new exhibition spaces will include interactive displays, artefacts ranging from aircraft to films, and multisensory display.

The purpose-built Collections Hub will house more than 65,000 objects which are currently held in storage offsite, and will be host to conservation, research, digitisation, and collections-inspired creative sessions as well as volunteering opportunities.

The new Learning Centre with bespoke facilities dedicated to the development and delivery of lifelong learning programmes, with an increased capacity and a focus on STEM subjects as well as art, history and design.

The new woodland area is hoped to provide an opportunity for carbon capture, increased biodiversity, and a green space for both visitors and staff.

RAF Museum CEO, Maggie Appleton explained: “Over the coming months we will continue to work closely with our local communities to develop the project, ensuring we deliver spaces that will make a vital and positive change to people’s lives across the Midlands and beyond.”

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