RAF Museum London - Air Cadet Resources Open Forum


Dear All,

My name is Mike, I am an Access and Learning Officer for the RAF Museum London in Colindale.
We are looking to put together some resources to enhance Air Cadet visits to the RAF Museum.

By resource, I am primarily talking about downloadable / printable content that can be used to enhance a visit, be that for educational purposes, entertainment purposes or of course both.

To ensure that these are actually useful I would like to find out from the Air Cadet community about the following topics:

  1. If you have visited the RAF Museum, why did you visit and what were you hoping to achieve / gain for your cadets?

  2. If you have not visited the RAF Museum, is there anything in particular that puts you off coming?

  3. What kind of resources would you expect to see for cadets and is there anything you think could be covered?

Please let me know on here and I will update on any progress. Please pass on to colleagues who may be interested in this topic.

RAF Museum London


Visited as part of a camp program and enjoyed it

Something that may be of use, since you were apparently given the documents would be the history of ADCC/ATC Squadrons

If you did it so a cadet could maybe tap a terminal and then it would show up what information you held.

I know 1 cadet unit that was founded to work
In conjunction with a RAF reserve sqn as a feeder so if the cadet tapped the screen it would show them any information and then on to the relating RAF sqn


A noble goal!

I’ve only ever visited as part of a camp programme too. It’s been a couple of years so I don’t know the most recently updated displays (and a rusty memory of a trip that was 60% café…)

I think being able to research your own squadron would be a great addition. Also local airfields and stations past and present - which would have the benefit of also applying to the general public. Another might be an ability to look up family member’ service.

Of course, I’d anticipate those to be quite intensive to set up…

I would like to see at least a quality timeline of ADCC and ATC history - milestones, activities, the aircraft, CAC bios, CACWO bios, changes, Wing formations, even things like the LASER Review… Etc.

I include things like Wing Formations and LASER Review to give cadets an insight and understanding of why the RAFAC is the way it is, instead of “this happened, that happened” unrelatable history.


Thanks for taking the time to ask - appreciated.

I’ve been to the RAF Museum (both Hendon and Cosford) principally as either
a. part of a CCF mass-participation Field Weekend - so a group of 50+ cadets, most of whom are relatively new to the CCF but are aged 14-15 and well educated on history.
b. part of a CCF annual camp - cadets are similar ages but perhaps already more knowledgeable.

I’ve generally found the pre-prepared resources available targeted more at younger cadets - those are useful but something more advanced tied into the ATC/CCF Airmanship and Principles of Flight syllabus would be helpful (even into the Senior Cadet/Part 3 Propulsion, etc.) Of course this may reflect your core ‘market’.

All of those syllabuses are available on line but I’m sure some of us will help you if you need copies.


in 2017 I organised for a 50 seater coach load to visit the RAF Museum at Hendon.

we had 5 Squadrons on board, and rather than the whole day be a doss with no structure i issued out the “workbook” questions to each squadron.

It has ~30 questions on what is on display at the museum. I suspect some of the answers could be found via google but others were more specific about display items. The cadets would have found answers to the questions had they visited the whole site and fair play each Squadron returned a full set of answers.
not all were correct so showed there was a level or degree of difficulty.

in reality i doubt it would take more than a full hour to complete if just looking to answer the questions but i like to think gave them some focus and perhaps out of those 30 question learnt a fact or 6.

what would encourage me to organise a trip?
exactly the above. a simply Cadet aimed (ie teenager) quiz to answer. I am not suggesting i would choose one museum trip over another because of it (see below) but I would be happier letting 40 kids go running around a museum if half had some focus with a quiz task.

the biggest appeal is price. If i can organise a trip, collect the Cadets, park up at the venue offer a briefing and not having any headache until its time to leave and make sure we’ve not left anyone that is the best outcome.

working out a group discount rate, how much each person needs to pay, oh wait some at under 16 others are over? how many staff can get in for free based on a Staff:Cadet ratio collecting all that money in and then paying - i have done that once and it was a faff.
it has put me off attending that museum again or at least thinking harder how to manage it.

either make it free or straightforward (discounted) pricing for Cadets.


…and the history of the CCF(RAF) including pre-ADCC ‘unofficial’ air sections, school ADCC units, and school-based ATC units in WW2 which morphed into CCF(RAF) sections in 1948.


The visits we have made have been because an adult wanted to go or as part of a camp programme. I don’t remember any resources to encourage people to walk around the exhibits so it was an aimless ramble. So it would be good to have something to aid a walk around. It is wrong to assume that cadets and staff have a natural interest in the RAF and or aircraft, so need to something to prompt them to look around. Not sure about the quiz idea, unless there’s a gizzit it at the end.

The main thing to consider is length of visit, which will include lunch and potentially a visit to the shop, as this should guide the resources. I would suggest a visit will last 4 hours max incl lunch etc. The last couple of visits due to Hendon’s location we have spent more time travelling than at Hendon.

The one question I would ask is what about adults? If you go as a parent you will go knowing it’s for the kids, but when it’s a youth group or school visit, you are going because the rules say there has to be an adult there, with this in mind what do you offer for adults, other than a café, which like all café’s in these places know they have a captive audience. It would be good to have something that maybe adults with no particular interest in the RAF feel there is something for them, to interest them.

Any resources should be age appropriate but I think that more hands on doing type things should be available, as from the last time I visited cadets seemed to spend ages queueing for some sort of simulator and feeling somewhat disappointed when we said we had to leave. Maybe 3D things would grab the interest.
For me being able to research family who were in the RAF, would be of interest. But I’m not sure if this is something held back to charge people. This could include searchable newspapers for info about your squadron.

Not sure about the ATC and even RAF timeline as like all historical matters, unless someone explains the context, it’s just a list of things with or without pictures. Maybe have reenactors there to “bring it to life”, my wife and I are EH members and the people they have at events in costume acting as per the period, do bring it to life, give it some context and many are quite entertaining.
Demonstrations of the skills and crafts required to build the aircraft of different eras, with the chance to have a go. I find the ‘builder’ sheds at Duxford really interesting. Other than it’s a reasonable walk with some old aircraft.
Maybe an Anderson shelter or similar and get 5 minutes sitting inside with a simulated raid during The Blitz or mock of a Lanc in flight and likewise 5 minutes. I’m not sure if it’s still there, but I when visited the Cloth Hall in Ypres years ago they had a reconstruction of a shell burst in the entrance. Woke people up if nothing else.
Guided tours around sections to explain about what’s in that area. Or take the cheap, soft option with self guided audio tours. I’ve done a few of both types over the years and help to explain things. I do prefer a person to a voice in headphones.

I would overall try bring Hendon to life, people in period costume talking about their role or experience. This seems to work well at EH attractions and again for special events have some children doing it as well, I’m sure stage schools would have youngsters to do this.


Can I PM you a quick question?


Perhaps a “group chaperone discount”? I’d probably drink twice as much coffee at even 75% of the price and maybe eat more than a packet of “premium” crisps to supplement my horror bag…

Hmm, how about a WWII Sgts’ Mess Themed pub? It’s going to be difficult to fully capture the attention of an adult with zero interest.

Something that I think could be considered is that you get adults who go ever year or two, with different groups, and it’s an especially draggy experience to stare at the same displays that you did the year before. There are some displays that I happily return to at various places, but most don’t fall into that category. A way of highlighting the new or improved exhibits would help here (or maybe I’ve just missed it if it exists).

Charge the public, free for RAFAC.

Agree. Something as simple as climbing in, hearing the sounds, and feeling the environment helps bring the history to life.


Coach drivers get a meal ticket, I think, so accompanying staff would be good.

it seems that any camp within 70 miles of London, and Hendon goes on the programme and as you say if you’ve been once go again within 5 years and it’s a bit samey. Which is where a number of EH locations score, as while they are old buildings and don’t change, EH stage themed events during the year, which change and make them interesting. This could be good for Hendon perhaps, but not the same one every summer!!


Fresh events and exhibits would give anyone an incentive to return.

Duxford also features quite regularly, but I always find it far more worthy of the repeated tour than Hendon.


The restoration block at Duxford fascinates me, more than anything else there, well that and Concorde.




Well you’re caught in a landslide that’s for sure :wink:


And (slightly off topic) you’re defying the laws of gravity :wink:


that’s certainly not the lyrics :man_facepalming:


Don’t stop me now…


Hi tmmorris,

Thanks for the suggestion. Would you be able to assist me in getting hold of the relevant ACPs as these seem to be hard to come by from outside RAFAC.


Hi all,

Apologies for the delay and thank you for your insights. They will prove useful I am sure.
The resources that will be developed will be available as downloadable / printed items to give a focus for Air Cadet visits to the RAF Museum London.

Unfortunately there is not anything that can be produced by way of a physical exhibition or any changes to the RAF Museum London site as we have just undergone a major redevelopment project this year for the RAF centenary but thank you for the suggestions.

I will send any updates once resources are developed and available.

Once again thank you for your time.

RAF Museum London