A grant of £980,000 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help IWM Duxford’s American Air Museum overhaul its displays and galleries.

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The museum, which was built at IWM Duxford in 1996, contains the best collection of American military aircraft outside the United States.

Its aircraft tell the story of American air power and the integral relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Conservation work on the aircraft and objects is planned to ensure the collection is kept in good historical condition for future generations to enjoy.

This large-scale conservation project will involve lowering suspended aircraft from the ceiling, taking out the large plate glass wall from the rear of the American Air Museum and removing all aircraft from the building.

A website based around The Freeman Collection, a compilation of about 15,000 prints and slides assembled by East Anglia aviation historian Roger Freeman, will be launched this summer.

The website will link each photograph to the serving group or unit it represents, show where the photograph was taken, the type of aircraft the group operated and give the personal story of the person shown in it.

Diane Lees, director general of Imperial War Museum, said: “I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has supported the American Air Museum redevelopment.

“This exciting project will bring to life Anglo-American relations past, present and future, in a way that enthralls and engages. “Whoever we are, wherever we live, this is our story and one that we can work together on for the benefit of future generations.”

Robyn Llewellyn, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the East of England, said: “The American Air Museum has possibly the best collection of US military aircraft outside the USA.

“This project will give IWM Duxford the opportunity to overhaul the displays and galleries and bring many of the fascinating stories of the First World War, Second World War and more recent conflicts to life in new and exciting ways which will give many people the opportunity to get involved.

“We look forward, in particular, to the museum’s interpretation of the Freeman Collection of photographs, many of which have never before been seen by the public.”

UPCOMING EVENTS AT IWM DUXFORD

Until Monday March 31 – Somewhere in England: Portraits of Americans in Britain 1942-45

May 24-25 – The D-Day Anniversary Air Show

July 12-13 – Flying Legends Air Show

September 13-14 – The Duxford Air Show

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