From The Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Story added on 20th April 2017
The Midland Air Museum celebrates its 50th anniversary during 2017 with events planned during the year including a 3 week summer exhibition displaying the Museums history, its local partnerships, evening events and a display of aviation artwork supported the the Guild of Aviation Artists.
The musuem was formed in 1967 as the Midland Aircraft Preservation Society, preserving and promoting regional heritage, and changed its name to the Midland Air Museum in 1977, becoming a Charitble Trust. The Museum first opened to the public with 5 aircraft on display in 1978 after aquiring a permanent site adjacent to Coventry airport and became an Educational Charity in 1979.
The museum began to steadily acquire aircraft for the collection and in 1983 the arrival of the Vulcan bomber was a significant acquisition which remains a favourite with visitors today including daily guided tours of the cockpit. Another two significant events in 1987 were the arrival of the Coventry built Armstrong Whitworth Argosy freighter and the re-loction of the museum to an adjacent 5 acre site. A display hall. named after the Coventry born inventor of the jet engine Sir Frank Whittle, was built on the new site to house the museums core collection of aircraft and artifacts.
In the early 1990s the museum became one of the first independent aviation museums to achieve the Museums and Galleries Registration status which has since developed in to the National Accreditation scheme awarded by the Arts Council.
The collection has grown and now contains over 50 aircraft including more recently ,the iconic Vickers Viscount airliner and an RAF Tornado with many supporting displays and exhibits. Additional buildings have included a large restoration facility in 1995 and a new building in 2016 to provide protective storge of large artifacts not currently on display.
The museums commitment to working with local community and our parterships with educational organisations promoting better awareness of our rich heritage are key objectives. Examples are our strong links with both Coventry and Warwick universities. This led to the establishment of a new purpose built and self funded educational building in 2010.
1991 saw the museum committing to 7 days a week opening throughout the year and out of hours opening for group visits and for various organisations that regularly use the museums facilities. The range of visitors is very diverse including many from overseas and the museum is regularly used by film and TV companies. The museum presently employs 5 members of staff and has over 50 working volunteers of all ages.
It is with great pride that we are celebrating our 50th year and without the commitment of our volunteers and staff and the continued support of the visiting public we would not have continued to grow and develop over the years whilst remaining self funding and independent. Future plans include additional exhibition halls to house more of the collection under cover allowing improved interpretation of the exhibits.
We are also commited to supporting Coventrys bid for City of Culture 2021 by promoting the citys diversity and industrial heritage, particularly the story of Sir Frank Whittle and the invention of the jet engine