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The Helicopter Museum at Weston-super-Mare has successfully completed a £387,000 project under a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) programme to upgrade its conservation and educational facilities and introduce new skills training.
The four year programme has seen the construction and fit out of a humidity controlled library and archive centre and adjacent film/lecture theatre, as well as the introduction of a new interactive area, and additional film screen displays and insulation in the main hangar. The conservation hangar has also benefited through the introduction of new equipment and skills training for the volunteer work force.

The HLF grant also covered the employment of an Education Officer to set up an outreach programme for Schools and groups in the area and training for tour guides and other volunteers. This has been extremely successful with more than 40 educational visits to the museum in 2010 and 28 already booked so far this year.
Matching funding for the project came from AgustaWestland in the form of surplus equipment and technical assistance to create the Interactive area, whilst museum volunteers conducted more than 3500 man hours to fit out the archive and manufacture and modify special pieces of conservation and outreach equipment including a mobile helicopter exhibit.

Chairman of The Helicopter Museum Trustees, Elfan Ap Rees said “This has been a complex project for us as a voluntary group, dealing with many different suppliers and entities and managing it ourselves has undoubtedly been a challenge. However the HLF has been extremely helpful and understanding as the work progressed to completion and we are very grateful for their advice and help.”
“As a result of the programme the Museum now has even more to offer visitors, with continuous film shows every day, new displays, a helicopter flight simulator and other interactive material for children and adults of all ages.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund contribution was unveiled by the Chairman of Trustees, Elfan Ap Rees on 3rd August 2011.

Open between 10am and 5.30pm Wednesday to Sunday, Bank Holidays and daily during the peak August holiday period, The Helicopter Museum is unique in the UK and holds the world's largest rotorcraft collection, with over 50% of the exhibits listed in the National Aviation Heritage Register under the highest Benchmark status


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