Collaboration between museums is rewarding as it benefits us all especially when we share expertise and resources. One such successful collaboration took place this year between Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre (MAVC) and the Great War Interpretation Hut, at Marquis Drive, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.
A chance conversation between Dave Dunham and Caterina Scott, both volunteer curators, during a trip organised by the Lincoln & North Lincolnshire Branch, Western Front Association, to the WW1 training area in Staffordshire on Cannock Chase, revealed that the hut’s WW1 display needed a mannequin that could be seated. MAVC had spare mannequin who could sit and be manipulated. So, an arrangement was made for it to be collected by Dave Dunham of the Cannock Chase Great War Interpretation Hut.
The Sniper exhibition was opened in July at the Great War Interpretation Hut and “Arthur” the Great War British Sniper is now a permanent exhibit. The donation of the mannequin from MAVC is acknowledged in the hut and Dave Dunham sent a sent a message ‘Many thanks, once again, to all of you at the RAF Metheringham Airfield Museum for your kind donation of the mannequin to the Cannock Chase Great War Interpretation Hut’
Visit www.staffspasttrack.org.uk hut to find out more.
Mandy visited MAVC today, having travelled up from Plymouth,, her second visit a few years after she donated an oil pump from the crash site of JB601 ZN-V, the Lancaster flown on 21 missions by the Ginder crew, that included her late father Harry Hudson. You may know that the oil pump now features in its own display in the Zena Scoley room together with a booklet setting out various stories linked to this Lancaster, eventually lost in 1944 being flown by another crew.
Mandy was impressed with the changes to our offering since she was last here and was delighted with the oil pump display and the photographs of the Ginder crew. She also gave me scans of her father's log book for our archives. She's clearly very keen that her father, and the whole crew, is not forgotten. They really did stick together for the rest of their lives. Roger, Linda and I were pleased to have the opportunity to meet her.
Today The Friends of Metheringham Airfield (FOMA) welcomed family members of those who served at RAF Metheringham, with 106 Squadron and 467 Squadron during WW2. This annual event was organised by the 106 Squadron Families Association to enable families to come together and remember their relatives. This year the reunion coincided with the opening of our new Memorial Room which contains an exhibition of items that reflect the stories of, as well as forming a memorial to, those who served.
We were extremely lucky to have the ribbon cut by Bomber Command Veteran Flight Lieutenant Martin Catty, who served as a Navigator with 514 Squadron flying in Lancaster’s from November 1944 to the end of the war; serving on an amazing 40 operations. (You can hear Martin’s amazing story on the IBCC’s Digital Archive.) Martin was joined by his family and he and others joined with us in a ploughman’s lunch afterwards. During the day, the families shared their own relatives stories with other families and the research team, who had kindly provided the equipment to capture this invaluable information for the museum’s records. The day culminated in a short ceremony of remembrance. We thank everyone for attending as well as those who made the day the success it was. It was great to meet you all. Thank you.
Today, we had a great day at Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre (MAVC) as we hosted Creative Learning Services (CLS) and Museums Development East Midlands (MDEM). The learning team were taking part in the Engaging with Schools Programme, funded by MDEM, which has helped us to develop our learning programme for schools. As you can see one of our learning volunteers, Mike Kenedy, threw himself eagerly into the interactive leaning sessions led by Mary Sibson from CLS, showing us how role play adds to the immersive learning experience. Museum educators and volunteers from the National Trust’s Belton House and Sudbury Hall Museum of Childhood, The National Civil War Centre, Creswell Craggs, as well as the learning team from MAVC enjoyed the activities. Today we focussed on a variety of topics such as the different ways children learn, how we can develop our learning programmes to use objects and grab learners’ attention (that’s not real blood on Mary and Mike’s aprons!) and how we can develop our learning programme by capitalizing on a range of different opportunities to help develop links with other organisations. We finished the day with a celebration of everyone’s progress on this year long project. Thanks to all at MDEM and CLS for a great year of support. Funding from MDEM has given MAVC the chance to purchase new props for our RAF Metheringham Experience Day, help us develop a more engaging schools programme and to devise new marketing materials. The learning team at MAVC will be continuing on the project for a second year; working with CLS and MDEM to further develop an outreach programme. Watch this space!