Group Captain David Baron OBE reviews the Museum’s 2011 season:
This was another very good year for the Museum. Various ongoing projects were completed, our new Lightning simulator was commissioned with a full complement of qualified instructors in post, and several new initiatives were set in train. Our Education Department continued to excel, once again hosting over 40 school visits and delivering over two dozen presentations on aviation matters to local community groups.
Our main event of 2011, “Douglas Bader Remembered”, was a great success. The occasion attracted over 1,000 members of the public and there appeared to be a general feeling amongst regular visitors that it was the best annual themed day they had attended at the Museum. Principal guests were our Patron, The Duke of Richmond, accompanied by The Duchess, and we were pleased to welcome a team of Second World War bomber aircrew for book and picture signings in support of the Bomber Command Memorial Fund. A number of other themed days took place during the year and the Museum was represented at several events in the local community.
The year ended with the resignation of Alan Bower as our Director. After many years of very successful service as assistant curator and curator, Alan took on the new Director appointment in April 2007 in association with a reorganisation of the Museum structure. Whilst establishing a most effective Management Team, he still found time to involve himself in extraneous projects to excellent effect and I place on record the Museum’s thanks to him for a job very well done indeed. Dudley Hooley has succeeded Alan as Director and I consider it a piece of extremely good fortune that we have someone of his calibre to assume the role.
A total of 32,232 souls visited the Museum during 2011 against 32,958 for 2010. This reduction of only 2.2% at a time of national austerity reflects a commendable performance by all volunteer personnel.