Last week we visited 'The Air Force Museum in Christchurch', it was the perfect way to spend a drizzly afternoon. Actually, no matter what the weather's doing, it's definitely worth a visit.
There's so much to see ... exhibitions, galleries, displays, memorials, film clips, hands-on experiences, a POW interactive exhibition,a flight simulator and so much more.
A spacious foyer with planes suspended above is the first thing you notice when entering the museum.
Bernie went on the 'Mosquito Mission Flight Simulator'. His mission was to search for battleships in Norwegian Fiords and destroy them.
This teddy (photo below) caught my eye - I enjoyed his story. His name is Flight Lieutenant Henry B. Fanshaw. His rank insignia and brevet indicate he is a flight lieutenant and pilot. He was the mascot of No. 75 Squadron RNZAF and lived in the Squadron's crew room at Osaka. He'd often accompany them on exercises and social events. Fanshaw was often abducted by other units with postcards, letters and hostage notes being sent back to Squadron 75. He traveled across the world and now lives in retirement at the Air Force Museum.
The aircraft hall, originally built as an aircraft hangar during World War 2, is home to 13 vintage aircraft which are displayed under theatrical lighting.
The museum offers a free half hour guided tour showing work behind the scenes and an opportunity to see aircraft, vehicles and engines in the reserve collection.
Below is the Spitfire and the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, which kiwi fighter Johnny Checketts bailed out of in 1943. The wartime crash site was rediscovered and the engine was uncovered and brought back to New Zealand. Johnny's son Chris Checketts donated the engine to the museum.
|Spitfire with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine recovered and brought back to N.Z.|
There's also an option for a group of friends to take a tour. The guided tour through galleries will show historic aircraft and share captivating stories of the men and women of the Air Force.
The Air Force Museum is ideal for all ages. Children are well catered for with hands-on experiences and clues to find. Birthday parties for children can be catered for too.
I really enjoyed the interactive exhibition 'Captured.' It follows the journey of a POW in Europe, showing what it was like to be shot down, captured, interrogated and imprisoned. Stories of N.Z. airmen who were POWs are on display and well worth reading. The exhibition gives an insight into everyday life in a POW camp.
The photo below shows a POW room that would have housed 12 men.
The Air Force Museum is open daily from 10am - 5pm and the entry is FREE. We had a fantastic time and highly recommend a visit.