With hundreds of military museums in the UK alone, how do you know which one will best suit your interests? Here, MHM has picked some of the best museums and exhibitions to visit this year, from hidden gems to long-established sites.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS MUSEUM
A ‘must see’ is the award-winning ‘In Flanders Fields Museum’ in the Ypres Cloth hall.
It narrates the invasion of Belgium, the first months of the war of movement, and the subsequent four years of trench warfare.
The scenography focuses on the human experience in the war, on the personal testimonials of the war experience.
From 4 April-30 August 2015, the museum is organising a historical double exhibition about the first gas attack in history that took place on April 1915: ‘GAS! The Second Battle of Ypres /DREAM CASTLES’. Previously unseen film material, clarifying overviews, and documentaries illustrate the second year of the war as part of the centenary commemorations of Ieper and the front region.
ADDRESS: In Flanders Fields Museum, Cloth Hall – Grote Markt 34, B – 8900 Ypres
OPENING TIMES: 1 April – 15 November every day from 10am-6pm; 16 November – 31 March Tuesday to Sunday from 10am-5pm. Ticket sale stops 1 hour before closing.
NATIONAL LIBERATION MUSEUM 1944-1945
The National Liberation Museum 1944-1945 is set in the beautiful landscape South-East of Nijmegen and the German border. Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation in history took place here in September 1944 and Operation Veritable, the Rhineland Offensive, the final road to freedom in Europe, started from here in February 1945.
The museum brings these historical events of the liberation back to life. In the museum, you live through the period preceding the war, experience the occupation, celebrate the liberation and witness the rebuilding of the Netherlands and Europe after the war. Aromas, interactive presentations, original films, and sound fragments captivatingly depict the liberation.
The museum invites you to join the commemorations and celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Dutch Liberation on 4-5 May.
ADDRESS: Wylerbaan 4, NL-6561 KR, GROESBEEK, the Netherlands
TEL: + 31 24 397 4404
OPENING TIMES: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sundays 12pm-5pm
RAF AIR DEFENCE RADAR MUSEUM
History of Radar and Air Defence from 1935.
The museum, housed in the original 1942 Radar Operations building, features: Battle of Britain Room; 1942 Ground Controlled Interception Room; Radar Engineering; Military Communications Systems; Cold War Operations Room; Royal Observer Corps; Space Defence; Bloodhound Missiles; Original Mobile Radar Vehicles. Free guided tour lasting around 1.5 hours. Light Refreshments and Picnic Area. Free Parking. Admission Adults £8.00, Concessions £7.00, Children (7-18) £5.00, Family (2 Adults and up to 3 Children) £20.00. Under 7s free. Groups by prior arrangement.
ADDRESS: RAF Air Defence Radar Museum, RRH Neatishead, Nr Horning, Norwich, NR12 8YB
TEL: 01692 631485
OPENING TIMES: April-October Tuesdays and Thursdays, second Saturday of every month and Bank Holiday Mondays 10am-5pm
THE ROYAL LOGISTIC CORPS MUSEUM
The Royal Logistic Corps Museum tells the fascinating stories of The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), its predecessor units and the development of army logistics.
Created in 1993 from the amalgamation of our five Forming Corps (the Royal Corps of Transport, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Pioneer Corps, Army Catering Corps, and Royal Engineers Postal & Courier Service), the RLC provides an enormous range of logistic support to the British Army. The museum’s exhibitions capture this story, from the early days of horse-drawn wagons and muskets to current combat logistic patrols and the most sophisticated technology of the age. We look forward to welcoming you to Princess Royal Barracks.
ADDRESS: Princess Royal Barracks, Newfoundland Road, Deepcut, Camberley, Surrey, GU16 6RW (Sat-Nav GU16 6SQ)
TEL: 01252 833371
EMAIL: Contact the museum via the form on the website (see below)
OPENING TIMES: Monday-Friday: 9am-4pm Saturday (April-September): 12pm-4pm
FIREPOWER – THE ROYAL ARTILLERY MUSEUM
In their own words …
By 1914, man found that he had the weapons, technology, and ability to kill, maim, and destroy on an industrial scale. For the first time he fought in the sky, on land, on the sea, and below the waves. It was a war that touched everyone – including civilians – and at its end there probably wasn’t a town, village, or family that hadn’t in some way been affected by this war’s cruelty.
‘In Their Own Words’ brings to life Gunners from different nations, separated 100 years ago by their country’s political ideology, the colour of their uniforms, or skin. Now 100 years on, as we look back upon their history and read their words, we realise that they are all united in the fact that they are all Gunners; this is their museum.
ADDRESS: No1 Street, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, SE18 6ST
TEL: 020 8855 7755
OPENING TIMES: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm). Sunday and Monday closed.
To read this article as it appeared in issue 55 of Military History Monthly, click here.