I am pleased to report that the gradual decline in visitor numbers experienced over the past four years came to an end in 2014 with precisely 28,000 souls passing through our doors against 27, 921 in 2013.
New exhibits introduced during the year included a replica First World War SE5a cockpit constructed by our own engineering staff from original drawings, and an interactive display alongside the Canberra cockpit allowing visitors to ‘tour’ the aircraft’s three crew positions via computer screen. The front cockpit/cutaway engine of a de Havilland Chipmunk was added to our collection and, towards the end of the year, we acquired a superbly renovated Piston Provost cockpit. Over 30 school visits were once again hosted in 2014 in addition to a considerable number of visits by aviation groups and parties. Sixteen external presentations were given to groups and societies within the local community, the majority by our Director, Dudley Hooley.
The Museum’s annual ‘Open Day’ on Sunday 3rd August – ‘Tangmere’s Tribute to the Great War’ – proved highly successful as did the “Classic Wheels Day” held in June which attracted no fewer than 120 classic cars and military vehicles. It is apposite that these two events together drew some 450 more visitors than did the equivalent two events in 2013.
An application for Full Re-Accreditation was submitted to the Arts Council in December following a time consuming collation of statistics and documentation and the outcome is awaited. Looking forward to the next season, we will be focusing on the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and, in particular, the major Luftwaffe raid on RAF Tangmere on 16th August 1940. We also hope to build further on the visitor numbers achieved in 2014.