In the Summer of 1963, a small public enclosure was opened at Yeovilton to allow the public to stop and watch the Fleet Air Arm at work. To increase interest, the Commanding Officer at the time proposed that the 3 historic aircraft held by the Station should be placed on view by the enclosure. At about the same time the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola in Florida was being established and the FAA's Rear Admiral Percy Gick visited it and was impressed by what he saw. The success of Yeovilton's Public Enclosure showed that there was a substantial level of interest in the FAA's activities and this helped to support the proposals written by Captain Keith Leppard, a member of Admiral Gick's staff, in convincing the Admiralty Board that a Fleet Air Arm Museum would be in the Service's interest.
The Fleet Air Arm Museum was opened in May 1964 by HRH Prince Phillip, (who remained the Museum's Patron until 1995, when HRH The Duke of York took over) when it comprised just one hangar and eight aircraft. A charitable trust to formally administer the Museum was established in 1966.
The modest single hangar beginnings of the FAA Museum have been continually improved by the Trustees, starting with a major expansion programme in 1974-1980. The Museum now comprises four large exhibition halls with approximately 120,000 square feet of covered display space, able to display up to 50 aircraft at one time. In addition to the aircraft the collection has major supporting collections such as photographs, documents, medals, paintings and clothing.
The FAA Museum is one of the group of four museums which together tell the story of the Royal Navy to meet the Second Sea Lord's Mission Statement for the naval museums:
"To promote understanding of the role the Royal Navy has played in the nation's life and history through the centuries, using important and valued collections for exhibit, education and research."
The Museum's own mission statement is:
"To collect, preserve, interpret and make accessible, material relevant to all aspects of the history of naval aviation and the operations of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Fleet Air Arm, the aircraft they have flown, the people who have served with them, and the ships and stations where they served, in the context of the development of aviation at large."
Senior staff at the FAA Museum include:
Director: Graham Mottram
Curator/Deputy Director: Cdr David Hobbs MBE RN (Rtd)
Administrator: Andy Davies
Collections Manager: Moira Gittos
Retail Manager: Elaine Hall
Catering and Functions Manager: Rob Wood
Shop Manager, Culdrose: Louise Wallis
Marketing and Development: Jon Jefferies
Please click here to download the Museum tourism leaflet.
Please click here to enter the official Fleet Air Arm Museum website.
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